As delegates gather in Birmingham for the Conservative Party's annual conference, Iain Dale produces a list of the top 100 powerful figures within the Right.
- (-) DAVID CAMERON
Prime Minister & Leader of the Conservative Party
There’s no denying it, Cameron has had a bad year. His government seems to lack direction and strategy and it is clear he is missing the talents of Andy Coulson and Steve Hilton. He now needs to get a grip on the Number Ten machine and avoid the appearance of drift. For the first time, there are muttering about his position a leader. He must be careful to ensure these mutterings do not develop into something worse.
- (+2) BORIS JOHNSON
Mayor of London
The Boris phenomenon roars on. When re-elected earlier this year as London Mayor he joked he had won “in spite” of David Cameron’s backing. But since then things have got bloody between the pair. Buoyed by the success of the Olympics Boris has opened fire on the government. He recently made a speech proclaiming that the Coalition was heading for “economic catastrophe” and said they were paying “lamentable attention” to the issue of airport capacity. A sure fire contender for next Conservative leader, he has the small matter of making sure he is Parliament if the situation arises.
- (+4) MICHAEL GOVE
Secretary of State for Education
Gove is now a real contender for the Conservative leadership, but as a loyal member of Cameron’s inner circle he denies all claims that he has ambition to be leader one day. He has successfully used his own personal narrative to win over critics. As many new free schools opened their doors just a few weeks ago we have yet to see the real effects of this policy, but by all measurements it looks good. Possibly the most successful government department. Even Labour have resigned themselves to the fact that free schools are here today, a major victory for Gove.
- (-2) GEORGE OSBORNE
Chancellor of the Exchequer
An awful year by all accounts for the Chancellor. Osborne’s Budget was meet by derision from all quarters of society. From the pasty tax to the cut in the 50p tax rate, Osborne got more bad headlines from the budget than he was hoping for. Although he claims to be sticking to his economic guns when it comes to Plan A, he has managed to find money for new infrastructure projects. He has many right wing critics who have pointed out that his main objective of lowering the budget deficit will not be achieved. His reputation as a political strategist has taken a heavy hit, hence his fall.
- (+1) WILLIAM HAGUE
His position as defacto Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party remains intact and he continues to be one of the Prime Minister’s closest confidantes as well as remaining hugely popular with the voluntary party. Hague has remained resolute in his intentions to extradite Julian Assange who stills remains at the Ecuadorian Embassy. Hague faces two big challenges over the year ahead, renegotiating Britain’s position within the EU and working with the US President post-election to sort out the crisis in Syria.
- (+3) PHILIP HAMMOND
Secretary of State for Defence
Hammond performed well over at the Department for Transport introducing some surprisingly radical ideas, but was unexpectedly moved to Defence following the swift resignation of Liam Fox. In the Defence brief he has had to make some tough decisions from 20,000 redundancies in the Army to cutting 25% of the military top brass. He has always made them with a cool calmness. He questioned the suitability of private companies carrying out public services after the Army had to step in during the G4S face at the Olympics. He continues to impress and is even being talked about as a successor to Cameron.
- (-2) EDWARD LLEWELLYN
Chief of Staff, Number 10 Downing Street
A close friend of Cameron since their days at Eton and Oxford, Llewellyn also worked with him in the Conservative Research Department in the early 1990s. He then worked as an adviser to Chris Patten in Hong Kong, before taking up a position with Paddy Ashdown in the Balkans. His role is the lynchpin of Cameron’s private office. Had a tough time during the Coulson affair but has emerged unscathed. However, Tory MPs are starting to whisper against him, accusing him of keeping the Prime Minister too remote from them.
- (+5) IAIN DUNCAN SMITH
Secretary of State for Work & Pensions
During the reshuffle Duncan Smith refused to be moved, but the fact he was even asked, rather than told, proved the respect that he has among the leadership. He has an ongoing battle with George Osborne over the cost welfare reform, but by all measurements appears to have won. He is now in the process of implementing those reforms, for a team that remained almost untouched during the reshuffle it may appear an easy job. It is not. Many of his key advisers are telling him that simplifying the benefit system and introducing a universal credit is “unworkable”. But this is a battle IDS is determined to win.
- (+6) THERESA MAY
May has one of the hardest jobs in government, but unlike her predecessors has coped very well in the job. She’s faced the Heathrow summer queues debacle, the G4S Olympics farce, was even booed at the National Police Federation, and yet has remained strong and resolute throughout. She is the best known female face (with the best known feet) on the Tory front bench, which insulates against those who don’t ‘get’ her. May faces a bumpy road ahead with more pressure over internet snooping and the Gary McKinnon extradition case, but judging by her past performance she’ll get through it.
- (NEW) LORD COE
Chair of London 2012
The world is Seb Coe’s oyster. This former Tory MP is publically adored for his role as Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games. His speech at the closing ceremony of the games invoked pride in the hearts of Britons up and down the country. It is said that he wants to succeed Jacques Rogge as the Chair of the International Organising Committee, but many would like to see him as the Tory candidate for London Mayor in 2016 despite protests he does not want to return to frontline politics. His autobiography is published next month entitled ‘Running My Life’.
- (-1) SAMANTHA CAMERON
Wife of the Prime Minister
There’s little doubt that SamCam is used as a key sounding board by her husband and that her views are a great influence on him. She is slowly emerging from her shell and becoming a public figure on her own right.
- (-3) LORD ASHCROFT
Former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party
Michael Ashcroft’s influence remains strong. His regular polling, although not conducted for the Conservative Party, are pored upon by strategists of all three parties. His growing political media empire, which includes Total Politics, Biteback Publishing, ConservativeHome and a large stake in Dod’s mean that his political influence continues. Earlier this year we was appointed to the Privy Council and made Special Representative for Veterans Transition.
- (+13) GRANT SHAPPS
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Young and wildly ambition, Grant Shapps is one of the most prolific media performers the party has. Unsurprisingly he was chosen as the successor to Sayeeda Warsi as Chairman of the Party. Fizzing with ideas, his enthusiasm is infectious. Sadly for him his first big challenge is the Corby by-election which the Tories will undoubtedly lose.
- (-6) ERIC PICKLES
Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government
By common consent, Eric Pickles has been one of the star performers of the coalition so far. He has gripped his department like few other ministers and implemented a dizzy array of eye-catching reforms which have led to massive cuts and efficiencies in his own department’s budget. He is not one of David Cameron’s inner circle, yet he has been a consistently high performer. His fall in this year’s rankings reflects the rather quiet year he has had.
- (+49) JEREMY HUNT
Secretary of State for Health
Many were shocked when Jeremy Hunt was made Health Secretary in the reshuffle. Most suspected that he would either be demoted or even sacked after his poor performance in the DCMS brief, in which he garnered huge controversy over his relationship with News International and the Murdochs. It was the main point of attack coming from Labour and will undoubtedly plague the government for some time to come. It’s sink or swim time for Mr Hunt.
- (+18) CHRIS GRAYLING
Secretary of State for Justice
We said last year that it would “only be a matter of time” before Grayling would reach the Cabinet table. After a long wait it happened when Chris Grayling was made Justice Secretary in the reshuffle. He was warmly welcomed by the grassroots as a right wing addition to the Cabinet. Although he has only spent a few weeks in the job he has stated he wants to rebuild public confidence in the courts, which means only one thing - harsher sentencing.
- (+31) NIGEL FARAGE MEP
Leader, United Kingdom Independence Party
A huge leap up the rankings this year for UKIP leader Nigel Farage. His media profile is bigger than ever and UKIP is now regularly polling as the third most popular party in the UK. He has been blunt about his ambitions for UKIP to top the polls in the 2014 European Elections. With wide public support for an EU referendum he is lobbying all three main parties to recognise this and call for one. His power of influence over the Conservative grassroots could prove a deadly weapon against Cameron at the next election. But despite high polling it has yet to be seen whether UKIP can win any seats in Parliament.
- (-7) FRANCIS MAUDE
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General
Maude is one of the most outspoken critics of the Sir Humphrey attitude of Whitehall civil servants. In his role as Cabinet Office Minister he has promised to reform the civil service after he said it was “unacceptable” for mandarins to block government policy. He was widely criticised this year when he advised people to stock up on jerry cans of petrol causing a minor fuel crisis. It was also condemned as dangerous after a woman was severely burnt while decanting petrol.
- (-2) OLIVER LETWIN
Minister for Government Policy, Cabinet Office
Although Letwin rarely appears on the nation’s airwaves this should not be seen as a sign of diminishing influence. On the contrary. His broad policy remit and his role on strategy are pivotal for the Coalition. He made a minor gaffe last year when it was discovered he was dumping confidential government papers in a bin in his local park.
- (-) MATTHEW HANCOCK
Joint Parliamentary Under Secretary at Education and Business
The highest ranked member of the 2010 intake on this list, his indomitable rise up the government ladder was always to be expected. Former Chief of Staff to George Osborne in Opposition, he was made joint minister at the Department for Education and the Department for Business. He will help to beef up support for free schools, while helping to defend against the worst excesses of Cable over at Business. His influence on the Chancellor should not be underestimated. Tipped to be the first of the 2010 intake to reach the Cabinet table.
- (-7) ANDREW COOPER
Director of Political Strategy, Number 10 Downing Street
A Portillista under the Hague regime, Cooper left the employ of Conservative Central Office to found the polling company Populus. He has remained an important figure on the right and his recruitment to Number Ten last this year brought him back into the fold. Some more traditional Tories regret that fact that a pollster is directing strategy. Harsher critics find it difficult to even spot what the strategy is.
- (-1) DANIEL FINKELSTEIN
Chairman, Policy Exchange
Finkelstein is one of the key non politicians with in Downing Street circles. It has been said that what he says one day becomes Osborne’s policy the next. On taking the chairmanship of Policy Exchange he has made himself one of the biggest players in centre right politics. He is undoubtedly one of the best interpreters of Tory prevailing winds.
- (-5) PATRICK McLOUGHLIN
Secretary of State for Transport
After seven years as Chief Whip, McLoughlin was promoted to the role of Secretary of State for Transport. He has immediately walked into the costly debacle over the West Coast main line, already being forced to apologise for the government’s incompetent handling of the franchise deal. Over the next few years he will face other big policy issues like airport expansion and HS2. This Northern former coal miner is one of the few working class Tories in the government and could prove to be an inspired appointment if he lasts long enough in a job which traditionally is a stepping stone for greater things.
- (-2) GRAHAM BRADY
Chairman of the 1922 Committee
Graham Brady and David Cameron are not, it is safe to say, bosom pals. Brady annoyed the leadership over his outspoken defence of grammar schools, after which he resigned his front bench position as shadow minister for Europe. This year he reignited the row by saying “I owe everything to my grammar school” and advocating reintroduction of academic selection. As Chairman of the 1922 he is a powerful voice for backbench interests.
- (+15) ANDREW MITCHELL
Andrew Mitchell managed to build a big profile for himself as International Development Secretary, and developed a good reputation among the NGOs. After a fairly successful job at convincing Tories that they should not cut the aid budget, Mitchell was promoted to his natural home of Chief Whip. Nicknamed “Thrasher” at school, he will have an iron grip over the Whips’ Office and enforce discipline. In his first week of the job he got himself into a major scandal after calling a police officer a “pleb”. He may have survived it but he has been severely wounded. Otherwise he would have made the Top 20 this year for the first time.
- (-7) ROHAN SILVA
Senior Policy Advisor, Number 10 Downing Street
Silva previously worked alongside Rupert Harrison and Matthew Hancock to develop the party’s economic policy in opposition, before coming economic advisor to George Osborne. He is now a Senior Policy Advisor to the PM, and is the brainchild behind Tech City in East London. It was Silva who came up with the idea of an iPad app which Cameron could run Whitehall from. Very political and forensic, his brain fizzes with new ideas.
- (+8) GABRIELLE BERTIN
Personal Press Secretary to the Prime Minister
Gabby Bertin took over from George Eustice as David Cameron’s press secretary and is well regarded by the political media. Fiercely protective of him, she is often seen at his side at events protecting him for intrusive interviewers. She is expecting a baby with City exec Michael Grist and will leave for maternity leave at the end of the year. Another blow for the Cameron team, depriving him of his most effective media operator.
- (-4) CRAIG OLIVER
Director of Communications, 10 Downing Street
Newspaper journalist complain that he doesn’t understand them and keeps his distance from them. He’s been a very low profile appointment, but perhaps that’s a good thing. He’s a backroom boy who knows the meaning of the phrase. Yet the knives are out for Oliver after a series of media disasters. The Spectator believes he will be gone by the end of the year.
- (-26) STEVE HILTON
Former Director of Strategy, Number 10 Downing Street
Following the loss of Andy Coulson last year, another blow was dealt to Number 10 when Steve Hilton departed for a year’s sabbatical to a Californian university. This was apparently due to a growing frustration with the slow pace of government reform. He was attacked with vitriol by Conservative commentators like Bruce Anderson, because upon his exit Hilton briefed the press that there was a lack of radicalism in the government. Despite this Hilton is apparently back on the scene and helping Cameron with his conference speech. He will be back in Downing Street before we know it.
- (-5) RUPERT HARRISON
Special Advisor to George Osborne
As Chief of Staff to George Osborne, Harrison is the most important of the four Treasury Spads. An old Etonian he is a smart, urbane and extremely clever, and has been described as one half of Osborne’s brain. The creation of the Office of Budget Responsibility amongst other innovative things apparently stems from Harrison. In these tough times he is more important to the Chancellor than ever.
- (+12) ANDREW TYRIE
Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee
A former full-time adviser to successive Chancellors, Nigel Lawson and John Major, Tyrie is a gifted economist with an impressive academic background. Nicknamed by senior Tory circles as Andrew Tiresome , he has proved to be a highly effective chairman of the Treasury Select Committee. Following the Libor banking scandal a Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards was launched, which Tyrie was appointed chairman of. Its findings will be influential on the policies of both the main parties.
- (+9) CATHERINE FALL
Deputy Chief of Staff, Number Ten Downing Street
Catherine Fall is one of the few members of David Cameron’s backroom staff who have managed to keep out of the limelight. But she is the glue which holds his office together. Fiercely efficient, and very protective, she is one of the few people implicitly trusted by the Prime Minister.
- (-5) TIM MONTGOMERIE
Tim Montgomerie can pick up the phone to anyone in the party and they will take the call. In the view of many MPs, he is undoubtedly one of the most influential people outside the Cabinet. His website, a must-read for politicians and activists alike, has managed the transition well from opposition to government. The regular website polling also provides a real insight into the Conservative grassroots for Number 10 and journalists alike.
- (-5) GREG CLARK
Financial Secretary to the Treasury
A former director of the Conservative Research Department, Greg Clark was always destined for great things. He had a great platform for radical ideas when he was tasked with the localism brief upon the formation of the Coalition, and was this year appointed to Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Although a promotion, he has gone from being a big cog in a small machine to a small cog in the big machine. This very calm operator has the next few months to show us what he is made of.
- (-19) ANDREW FELDMAN
Co-Chairman, Conservative Party
A surprise to many, Feldman kept his job as Co-Chairman of the Party alongside new Chairman Grant Shapps upon Baroness Warsi’s departure. He is one of David Cameron's close personal friends from his university days, and was treasurer of his leadership campaign. Grant Shapps is front of house, while Feldman is tasked with reshaping the party’s finances and headquarters organization.
- (-6) DAMIAN GREEN
Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice
Damian Green’s thoughtful and non aggressive approach to the immigration brief won him plaudits and earned him a good media profile. Cameron then rewarded him a promotion in the reshuffle moving him to Nick Herbert’s old job of Police Minister. He will now oversee the election and implementation of elected police commissioners later this year. Despite being on the left of the party, Green remains a popular figure across the party. He is one of the most talented ministers outside the cabinet.
- (-5) MARGARET THATCHER
Former Prime Minister
More than twenty years since her fall from grace, the mere mention of her name within Tory circles rouses a huge round of applause. Her shadow no longer casts itself over the entire party, but she is rightly still treated with huge respect and affection. Sadly because of her failing health her appearances at State occasions have ground to halt, yet a few anecdotes of her moments of brilliance have slipped through the net. One such occasion was when told about the LibDems plans to abolish the House of Lords she replied, “Ah, Liberals. We should abolish of few of them. No one shall abolish me.”
- (-5) STEPHEN GILBERT
Political Secretary, Number Ten Downing Street
A former Chief Executive of the Party, Gilbert became Michael Ashcroft’s right hand man in planning and delivering the Tories’ campaign in the marginal seats. His new role combines the job of Political Secretary in Number Ten with a campaigning role at CCHQ. He is widely respected throughout the professional party and among former candidates. Few would be surprised if he moved back to CCHQ full time as the election draws nearer.
- (+38) JUSTINE GREENING
Secretary of State for International Development
What a bumpy ride it has been for Justine Greening over the past year. Some felt she was promoted too early when she moved into the Cabinet as Transport Secretary following the mini-reshuffle after Liam Fox’s departure. Her opposition to Heathrow expansion among other things lead to her demotion in the recent reshuffle to International Development Secretary. Her failure to spot the West Coast franchise fiasco may cost her dear.
- (-2) DANIEL HANNAN
Conservative MEP, Columnist & Blogger
Another year another book from Daniel Hannan, this year’s offerings are on his specialist subject entitled “A Doomed Marriage: Britain and Europe”. Fiercely Eurosceptic, Hannan has established a powerful brand for himself. As the darling of the grassroots his fringe speeches at conference have become sell-out events. His logical thought process and brilliant oratory draw comparison with Enoch Powell, and many believe he would be of far more influence if he ran for a Westminster seat.
- (-10) LORD STRATHCLYDE
Leader of the House of Lords
A popular figure in all parts of the party Tom Strathclyde is part of the fixtures and fittings in the Lords. He is also very influential. He has made himself almost irreplaceable and Cameron relies on him to keep their Lordships in order. Strathclyde was an impressive defender of the House of Lords reform this year, despite for many years being a staunch opponent to reform.
- (+11) MATTHEW SINCLAIR
Chief Executive, Taxpayers’ Alliance
Sinclair was made Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance this year, and has been a thorn in the side of government and local councils. The TPA is undoubtedly the most effective pressure group in Britain, holding local government and politicians account for every penny they spend. He is a regular on radio and television putting the case for small government and low taxes – just as well, since few Tory ministers are prepared to do it.
- (+19) JOHN WHITTINGDALE
Chairman, DCMS Select Committee
‘Whitto’, as he is affectionately known, made his name as Political Secretary to Margaret Thatcher. He rises this year due to his work as chairman of the DCMS select committee on the Murdoch inquiry, which he has chaired with great skill. Much respected by Tory MPs he is a good tip for next chairman of the 1922 Committee.
- (+3) JESSE NORMAN
Conservative MP for Hereford
Jesse Norman is now known by many for one thing, his confrontation with Cameron over Lords Reform in the division lobby. He founded the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber, where he helped lead and galvanise opposition against House of Lords reform. Cameron then confronted him and lost his temper accusing him of not being “honourable”. The debacle earned Norman a whole host of new fans among the Tory grassroots. It’s unfair to characterise him as just a rebel, he is one of the leader thinkers in the Conservative Party today.
- (+33) LYNTON CROSBY
The “Wizard of Oz” successfully worked his strategic and tactical magic four times in his native Australia for Prime Minister John Howard. In six months he was unable to do the same for Michel Howard and the Tories at the 2005 general election, but he oversaw Boris Johnson’s famous victory at the 2008 London mayoral election and repeated that feat in 2012. He and David Cameron are said to not get on, but most Tory activists want to see him running the 2015 election campaign.
- (-10) SIR JOHN MAJOR
Prime Minister 1990-97
Sir John has avoided the mistakes of his predecessors and only comments on current affairs when he has an important point to make, his microphone of choice being the Andrew Marr Show. Behind the scenes he is an important source of confidential advice for David Cameron, and when he speaks out it is usually a call for unity behind the leader. This year he was rightly recognised for his role in ensuring lottery fund went to sport when he was PM, enabling our success at the 2012 Olympics. He has a new book out called ‘My Old Man’ about the history of the music hall.
- (+3) NICHOLAS BOLES
Minister for Planning, Department for Communities and Local Government
It was only a matter of time before Nick Boles was promoted, a loyal Cameroon and Coalition defender, he was made Minister for Planning following the reshuffle. He was the first new minister to appear on Newsnight with Paxo, and he displayed his typically brilliant media skills. He has long been highlighted as one of the most impressive members of the new intake, over the next year we will see if he can live up to that reputation. A few months before being made a minister he controversially called for an end to non-pension benefits like Winter Fuel Allowance and free bus passes.
- (+37) SIR EDWARD LISTER
Deputy Mayor of London
A vital member of the Johnson team running London, he was appointed as Deputy Mayor for Planning and Chief of Staff to the London Mayor in 2011. Previously Sir Edward had served as Leader of Wandsworth Council from 1992-2011, making him the longest serving council leader in the country. His reputation as a fearsome cost cutter in Wandsworth has continued in the London Assembly, making £150 million spending cuts to pay for a council tax cut each year for Londoners.
- (-22) MATTHEW ELLIOTT
Founder of the TaxPayers Alliance and Big Brother Watch
Former Head of the No to AV campaign, Matthew Elliott has long been a calm and powerful advocate of low taxes, light regulation and the small state, making his name as the founder of the Taxpayer’s Alliance. He was considered as a replacement for Steve Hilton as the PM’s Director of Strategy, but was allegedly blocked by the Liberal Democrats. He recently stood down as the TPA’s Chief Executive, but rumour has it he has an even bigger project up his sleeve.
- (-13) PAUL KIRBY
Director, Number 10 Policy Unit
Kirby a former KPMG partner, was brought in as the new Head of Policy Development following the Number 10 rejig after Andy Coulson’s departure. He leads a team of 8 formulating government policy. Kirby is the man behind the massive shake of the public sector, proposing radical new policies to end the “state monopoly” over public sector services. However he does have many Tory critics who reckon are not seeing enough conservatism in the policy making of 2012.
- (-12) MICHAEL HINTZE
Australian born Michael Hintze is a highly successful hedge fund manager and philanthropist. His influence relates to the causes which he funds. He was the first to out himself as someone who had loaned the Conservative Party. One of the few donors who everybody in the party both likes and respects. It was revealed this year he was the funder of Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, and that he had dined with the PM in Downing Street.
- (-10) KIT MALTHOUSE
Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise
Earlier this year Malthouse made controversial comments that too many police resources were being wasted on the phone hacking scandal. Following Boris’ re-election he moved Malthouse away from responsibility for the Met Police, and instead put him in charge of Business and Enterprise. We shall wait to see whether Malthouse can deliver on his promise of 200,000 new jobs. As an eloquent performer on the London media, he could well make a run for mayor himself when Boris has had enough. Formerly Malthouse was Deputy Leader of Westminster Council and remains an investment banker.
- (-9) PATRICK ROCK
Special Advisor, Number Ten Policy Unit
Rock was brought back last year to join the No10 Policy Unit as a Special Advisor. He was the one time legendary SpAd to Michael Howard when he was Home Secretary, the other SpAd being a young, bright man by the name of David Cameron. Credited with coming up with the phrase "cows moo, dogs bark, Labour puts up taxes" in the 70s, he is a smooth operator but we have yet to see any significant policies come out of Number Ten this year.
- (-8) AMEET GILL
Head of Strategic Communications
After the departure of Tim Chatwin who left to join Google in the US, Cameron’s rather elusive chief speechwriter Ameet Gill was appointed Head of Strategic Communications at Number 10. Gill has been working with David Cameron now for six years, but little is known about this head of comms who, like all good backroom boys, does his best to stay out of the limelight. Tale has it that he was put forward to Cameron by the author and historian Niall Ferguson whom he worked for as a researcher.
- (New) SAJID JAVID
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
This time last year very few people had heard of the MP for Bromsgrove. Since then he has gone from PPS to John Hayes, to PPS to George Osborne and following the reshuffle now Economic Secretary to the Treasury replacing Chloe Smith. His fast rise up the greasy pole into George Osborne’s inner circle is not only proof of this man’s ambition but also his talent. At the age of 25 he became Vice Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, and later senior Managing Director for Deutsche Bank before entering politics.
- (-5) DAVID LIDINGTON
Minister for Europe
David Lidington has now been Minister for Europe for over two years. In the previous two years before that there were four holders of the post, so he must be doing something right. One of the few Tory MPs liked by virtually all his colleagues, Lidington was chosen for the role of Minister for Europe precisely because of his party wide popularity. Neither seen as a eurospectic nor a Europhile, he is a pragmatist. If anyone can suck the poison out of this poisoned chalice of a job, he can.
- (+15) OWEN PATERSON
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
When Paterson was originally brought into Cabinet by Cameron many eyebrows were raised, yet it proved a shrewd move. His success in the Northern Ireland post won him a promotion in the reshuffle as he replaced Caroline Spelman at Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. A solid right winger and climate change sceptic, his promotion angered many green pressure groups, while at the same time pleasing the conservative grassroots who admire his pro-foxing hunting and anti-wind farm beliefs.
- (-3) DAVID DAVIS
Former Shadow Home Secretary
It’s never a quiet year if David Davis is about, and 2012 proved no different. He has a knack for putting his finger on the weak point of a policy and then launching a campaign to change it – often with success. He recently made a speech at the CPS calling for Cameron to cut more and faster, and to expand Heathrow which gained him much media traction. Davis has become the poster boy of the right, with “Don’t blame me I voted DD” t-shirts being printed for this year’s Party Conference - allegedly.
- (-3) ANDREW HALDENBY
Haldenby set up Reform with Nick Herbert in 2001, having run the abortive David Davis leadership campaign. Reform is unashamedly free market and small government and has found the Cameron regime less to its liking than its predecessors. However, the Tories are starting to adopt some of Reform’s radical ideas on a small state agenda and public service reform.
- (-3) JOHN REDWOOD
Conservative MP for Wokingham
John Redwood continues his renaissance. His Economic Competitiveness Report was a model of its kind and Redwood’s blog (johnredwoodsdiary.com) has attracted a large and influential readership. His media profile is increasing and his waspish sense of humour is finally being shown in public. Earlier this year he got into a spat with the Department for Health over a report he had written called Care for the Elderly in which he publicly denounced the Dilnot proposals.
- (-3) OLIVER DOWDEN
Prime Minister’s Political Director
Dowden, nicknamed Olive, has yo-yoed between being a party apparatchik and the world of public relations. Prior to the election he headed up the political section of the Conservative Research Department, but now acts as Cameron’s Political Director. Dowden is based at Number 11 and works closely with CCHQ, looking closely at opposition strategy and organising attack operations against Labour. He may keep a low profile but is integral to the Tory machine. Dowden has been tipped to run as an MP in the 2015 general election.
- (+8) DOUGLAS CARSWELL
MP for Clacton
Carswell’s influence has grown quickly since he was first elected to Parliament in 2005. Adding to Carswell’s large collection of publications from localism to constitutional reform, he authored a new book this year called “The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy”, cementing his position as one of the party’s brightest young thinkers. Though he has no chance of joining the government payroll people still listen to what he has to say. He made headlines earlier this year when he accused “Sir Humphrey of dominating policy”.
- (-40) LIAM FOX
Former Secretary of State for Defence
An awful past year for Liam Fox, Fox was forced to resign as Defence Secretary after the controversy surrounding his friend Adam Werritty. A later investigation by the Cabinet Secretary revealed the details of the working relationship were improper. Since then he has been afforded the freedom to position himself as the champion of the right and to try and build a power base. In recent months Fox has spoken out for tax cuts, talked of leaving the European Union, and has also been feeding ideas to Mitt Romney.
- (+3) SIR MERRICK COCKELL
Conservative leader of the Local Government Association
Charming and urbane, Merrick Cockell made his reputation as leader of Kensington Council, which had the third lowest council tax in the country. Last year he took over the important position as Tory leader of the LGA, and this year pleaded with the government not to slash the local authority budget further. However he was criticised during the Olympics because instead of representing his London council, he took a holiday to a private villa in Spain.
- (+3) DOMINIC GRIEVE
Grieve is the very definition of a safe pair of hands, and is wrongly viewed by many as simply being rather dull. Despite being in Cabinet for over two years he lacks influence on the party leadership because Cameron has never really understood Grieve and his more liberal instincts.
- (-6) LORD HOWARD
Leader of the Conservative Party, 2003-5
As a standard bearer of the Tory Right, Howard’s remarks made almost 20 years that “prison works” are often still quoted today by people up and down the country. Although the speculation that he might return to frontline politics as Lord Chancellor after the election never came to fruition he still holds influence over his party. His vast parliamentary experience is always there to be called upon whenever the Prime Minister needs it.
- (+5) DAVID WILLETTS
Minister of State for Innovations, Universities & Skills
It’s been a quiet year for Willetts, though that was to be expected after the chaos of the last few years. Willetts is a survivor whose calmness and indefatigability during the student fees crisis were much needed qualities while others were chasing their tails. Despite a large drop in the number of students going to university, he has remained a staunch defender of the Government’s market reforms to higher education. Although he is one of the finest political brains in the country, disappointingly this appears to be his last job in government.
- (+6) DOMINIC RAAB
MP for Esher & Walton
One of the greatest thinkers of the Class of 2010, Raab is a former aide to David Davis who has taken on his ex-boss’s mantle as a champion of civil liberties. He has contributed to several policy oriented books including After The Coalition, The Future of Conservatism, and this year Britannia Unchained calling for radical cuts to regulation. He has had many public spats with Home Secretary Theresa May, more recently over US extradition particularly the Gary McKinnon case.
- (-8) KENNETH CLARKE
Minister Without Portfolio
After his demotion in this year’s reshuffle Ken Clarke does what Ken Clarke does best, he spent a relaxing afternoon watching cricket at the Oval. His indifference to the burdens of state and the way he sails through life as if he wouldn’t care if his political career ended tomorrow is something we rarely see in politics anymore. His new role as Minister without Portfolio allows him the opportunity to share his vast experience with Cabinet and advise Cameron and Osborne on the economy without the burden of running a department.
- (+5) MARTIN CALLANAN
Leader of the Conservative European Reform Group of MEPs
Callanan is the first seriously eurosceptic leader the Tory MEPs have ever had in Brussels. Since his elevation to that role, he has not been afraid to make waves by publicly opposing British participation in further eurozone bailouts, for example. A Geordie who was educated at the same school as Paul Gascoigne, he is living up to his promise to lend “solid but not slavish support” to the Coalition Government – and his interventions will continue to give succour to grassroots activists.
- (+5) NEIL O’BRIEN
Director, Policy Exchange
Policy Exchange remains to be one of the most influential think tanks in Westminster and is often quoted as Cameron’s favourite think tank. Neil O’Brien has succeeded in moving Policy Exchange on to a more aggressive, free-market agenda. Under his leadership the think tank has produced many radical papers on planning reform and education which have gone on to shape government policy.
- (New) LORD FINK
Conservative Party Treasurer
Following the resignation of Peter Cruddas over cash for access controversy, Stanley Fink was brought back into the fold as Treasurer of the Conservative Party. A grocer’s son and grammar school boy, Fink went on to amass a personal fortune of £120 million in the hedge fund industry. He proved very successful at raising funds prior to the election, now Cameron hopes he can do the same in the run up to 2015.
- (New) MARIA MILLER
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
One of the highest performing ministers in the Coalition, her hard work paid off when she was promoted to the Cabinet replacing Jeremy Hunt at Culture, Media and Sport. Educated at a Welsh Comprehensive school she is not your typical Tory and last month came out in favour of same sex marriage. She recently caused a stir when she said that she would vote to lower the abortion limit to 20 weeks. Expect to see a meteoric rise in next year’s list.
- (+5) GREG HANDS
Assistant Treasury Whip
Despite being overlooked for a ministerial position, Hands has remained a loyal part of Team Osborne as is well regarded by the party. He had a small promotion after the mini reshuffle caused by Liam Fox’s departure moving from PPS to Assistant Whip. A devotee of both Thatcher and Reagan (he was born in the US and campaigned for Rudy Giuliani when he lived in New York), a ministerial red box ought to be his before too long.
- (+6) LORD TEBBIT
Former Conservative Cabinet Minister
Norman Tebbit is a figurehead of the Tory Right and inspiration to many, when he speaks he reminds people of the heady days of Thatcher rule. He still has the knack of getting to the nub of an issue with a soundbite designed to cause maximum effect. His Telegraph blog has given him a new lease of life and is required reading in the Westminster Village and beyond. He is major thorn in Cameron’s side, which pleases the old bruiser no end.
- (+7) PAUL GOODMAN
Executive Editor, ConservativeHome.com
Goodman’s rise up this year’s rankings are a reflection his increasing importance to ConservativeHome, the leading website of the grassroots and major critic of Cameron’s government. Genial and pensive, Goodman quit Parliament at the last election even though he would have been a dead cert Minister of State in a Cameron government. Disillusioned by the state of party politics he has made a real impact in his new guise as an internet commentator - even winning the PoliticsHome Political Blogger of the Year awarded.
- (NEW) TOBY YOUNG
Journalist and Author
Co-founder of the West London Free School, Young has been a huge supporter of Michael Gove and a vocal champion of his free school reforms. His very popular blog at The Telegraph came to a sad end earlier this year when he became a political columnist at The Sun on Sunday.
- (NEW) HARRY COLE
In previous years Guido Fawkes has made an appearance on this list, but this year their News Editor makes it in his own right. Some say Guido Fawkes is neither as influential nor revelatory as it once was, but it still has the largest following of any political blog in the UK. Cole is also a Columnist at the Daily Star on Sunday, and recently became a Contributing Editor at The Spectator largely in charge of writing the Steerpike column.
- (+9) ANDREW LANSLEY
Leader of the House of Commons
Lansley’s time as Health Secretary can only be described as ‘mixed’, as he struggled steer the Health & Social Care Bill through the Commons. Although he successfully neutralized health as an issue for the Tories in opposition, it came back to bite them in government. He was duly demoted in the reshuffle to Leader of the House of Commons, a job which will see him in charge of arranging of government business and give him an opportunity to rebuild his reputation.
- (+9) PRITI PATEL
Conservative MP for Witham
One of the feistiest of the 2010 intake, Patel wowed Essex man with her Thatcherite rhetoric to win a seat where she doesn’t fit the typical demographic. The embodiment of upward social mobility as envisaged by the Iron Lady, she is the daughter of Ugandan refugees and worked for Sir James Goldsmith and the Referendum Party in 1997 before being recruited to Tory HQ by William Hague when he was leader. Tipped for ministerial stardom.
- (New) DAVID JONES
Secretary of State for Wales
After several years as Cheryl Gillan’s loyal deputy both in opposition and government, this year David Jones was finally made Secretary of State for Wales upon her departure, making him the first Conservative Welsh Secretary who represents a Welsh constituency since Nicholas Edwards in 1987. A former lawyer, he is a fluent Welsh speaker and also used to be the Assembly Member for North Wales. Jones is by far one of the most interesting MPs on Twitter.
- (New) HUGH ROBERTSON
Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
Robertson was the government minister who oversaw the London Olympics this year. Post Olympics he was promoted from Parliamentary Under Secretary, to Minister of State for Sport. Not only will he been looking after the nation’s sport, he is also in charge of maintaining the legacy of the Olympics especially tourism. The former Army officer got involved in gaffe when he reportedly said “You should damn well know who I am” to security guards refusing to let him into the Olympic grounds. Tipped as a future Chief Whip.
- (New) DAVID GAUKE
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
Described by many as “Osborne’s safe pair of hands”, David Gauke has kept a steady calmness as Exchequer Secretary for the last two years. He managed to survive the anger of tradesman up and down the country when he made controversial remarks that cash in hand was “morally wrong” - despite his wife being a corporate tax lawyer whose company boasted about their ability to reduce people’s tax burden. He is a sure fire choice as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in a Conservative Government.
- (New) MICHAEL FALLON
Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The Conservatives attack dog, Michael Fallon did the job Sayeeda Warsi was supposed to do when he served as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. A favourite among the Conservative grassroots, Fallon was brought into the Business Department following the reshuffle to reign in the left wing tendencies of the Business Secretary Vince Cable. Upon his arrival at the department he said he would be a “voice for business” and start “relighting the bonfire of regulations”. By any measure, he should be in the Cabinet.
- (New) LIZ TRUSS
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education
One of the bright young members of the Class of 2010, she founded the Free Enterprise Group which is thought in high regard by George Osborne and the Treasury. Its job is to foster an atmosphere of pro free market in a time of austerity, and to provide new policy ideas in hope of influencing the government. A co-author a number of books, she was recently made a minister at the Department for Education. She used to be in charge of the Liberal Democrats at Oxford University and campaigned to abolish the Monarchy.
- (-23) NICK HERBERT
Former Minister of State for Police & Prison Reform
The man who helped to bring in the government’s plans for elected police commissioners, Nick Herbert was expected to be a shoe-in for the cabinet. He resigned a Minister during the reshuffle, allegedly fed up of the lack of support for radical policies and the Yes Minister reality of the civil service. One of the brightest and most innovative thinkers of the Tory MPs, Herbert said he was going to be concentrating on “new ideas”.
- (New) SIMON BURNS
Minister of State at the Department of Transport
After a clear out of ministers at the Department of Health following the fiasco that was the Health and Social Care Bill, Simon Burns was moved to the Department for Transport. He has special responsibility for rail fares, HS2 and aviation, ensuring he will be in the spotlight as airport expansion becomes an ever increasing issue. Famed for calling Speaker Bercow “a stupid sanctimonious dwarf”, Burns is a friend of former President Jimmy Carter and is very fond of the Clintons.
- (New) ANNA SOUBRY
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health
Before being promoted in the reshuffle to minister, Anna Soubry was PPS to Simon Burns at the Department for Health. She immediately caused waves in the job by announcing her support for assisted suicide laws leading to the Department of Health having to deny it had any such plans. This was followed by an admittance that the Coalition government had “screwed up” NHS reform at a conference of medical professionals. Her indiscreet nature has made her a favourite with journalists. Described by one as “Edwina Currie on steroids”.
- (New) RUTH DAVIDSON
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives
Ruth Davidson had big shoes to fill when Annabel Goldie stood down as Leader of the Scottish Conservatives after six years. She narrowly beat the more radical Murdo Fraser in the leadership contest. A young Scottish lesbian she is not your typical Tory, but she has yet to make a real impact in the job. The next few months will tell if she can step up the role, and also play a key part in the Scottish independence referendum.
- (New) ZAC GOLDSMITH
MP for Richmond Park
With debates raging over government aviation policy, Goldsmith threw a grenade into policy discussions when he announced he would immediately stand down as a Tory MP and fight as independent if the government expanded Heathrow. The one time Cameroonian environmentalist was sacked last year as green envoy because he voted in favour of an EU referendum in the Commons. It has been reported that Goldsmith has had secret meetings with Boris Johnson over Heathrow, and there is speculation he could stand down in favour of Boris.
- (New) ANDREA LEADSOM
MP for South Northamptonshire
A former Director at Barclays Bank, Andrea Leadsom entered Parliament in 2010 and last year founded and now runs the Fresh Start Project. 104 Conservative MPs turned up at their first meeting, with the aim of pushing the party in a more Eurosceptic direction and to redefine Britain’s relationship with the EU. She didn’t make many friends in Downing Street earlier this year when she called for Osborne to apologise to Ed Balls after implicating he was involved in the Libor scandal.
- (New) KWASI KWARTENG
Historian and MP for Spelthorne
Kwarteng has authored four books since he arrived in the Commons in 2010. He wrote a heavyweight tome on the British Empire, a book on transport policy, and co-authored a further two on general Conservative policy. It’s amazing he gets the time to be an MP. Very bright, he was educated at Eton, Cambridge and Harvard. Many were surprised when Kwarteng was left on the backbenches in the reshuffle.
- (-6) STUART POLAK
Director, Conservative Friends of Israel
CFI has established itself as a highly effective lobby group. Polak regularly takes leading Conservatives on trips to Israel to educate them. The sceptics invariably return, if not indoctrinated, fully onside. A familiar face around the corridors of the Houses of Parliament, he has done more than most to promote Israel’s case to the right of British politics.
- (New) MARK LITTLEWOOD
Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs
Littlewood became the first Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs to appear on Question Time. True to his style he controversially proposed that there were better free market alternatives to the NHS. Formerly Chief Press Spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, he is one of the best free market voices on the media and also recently became an independent advisor to Number 10. Never knowingly on message, the IEA has blossomed under his leadership.
- (New) TIM KNOX
Director of the Centre for Policy Studies
The Centre for Policy Studies has re-established itself as one of the most influential think tanks on the right. Working alongside the CPS’s Chief Economist Ryan Bourne, Knox has overseen a renaissance at the CPS. With an increased number of influential reports and a boom in the number of their events, the CPS is on the rise.
- (New) ALLISTER HEATH
Editor of City AM
As Editor of City AM, the free daily business newspaper distributed across London, Heath has seen the circulation rise to 100,000 copies a day making him one of the most influential voices in the London business community. He has created a network of free market journalists who provide some of the best libertarian content out there. The Frenchman also chaired the 2020 Tax Commission which produced an influential report investigating the ideal tax system for the UK.
- (New) MARK PRISK
During the reshuffle Prisk took a sideways step from Business Minister to Housing Minister, replacing Grant Shapps. Prisk now faces one of the most challenging jobs in government, but has already pledged to work with the housing sector to draw up a long term plan to sort out the housing shortage in this country. If he performs well in this job too, he could be in the cabinet before too long.
- (New) ROBERT HALFON
MP for Harlow
Halfon is a true Essex Man and an inveterate campaigner. He founded Right Angle, an online grassroots community aimed at creating a voice for the aspiring working class. Campaigns he has got involved with include lower taxes for lower earners, namely increasing the tax free allowance to £10,000, and Petrol Promise, campaign for cheap fuel prices.. He is also a keen supporter of Conservatives joining trade unions. He himself is a member of the Prospect trade union.
- (New) MARK HARPER
Minister of State for Immigration
For the past two years Harper worked as Nick Clegg’s deputy pushing the AV referendum through the Commons, and a valiant defender of the House of Lords reform which failed to make any progress. His loyalty was rewarded when he was made a Minister of State at the Home Office, with responsibility for immigration. He maybe a skilled performer but he has a tough challenge to take control of this poisoned chalice.
- (New) JOHN HAYES
Many were surprised when competent Energy Minister Charles Hendry was sacked in favour of John Hayes, who was previously at BIS. Hayes appointment to Energy has concerned some environmental groups as he is a known climate change sceptic who has past opposition to wind farms and other renewables. Many suspect he has been brought in to beef up Team Osborne in an ongoing dispute between the Chancellor and the Climate Change Secretary over the future of the UK’s energy strategy.