Each year the Telegraph assembles a group of experts to compile a list of the top 100 most influential people on the Right. Meeting this year in the Westminster Intercontinental – the new hangout of choice for politicos – the panel judged the performance of right-wing politicos since September 2012.
Back in January David Cameron delivered the Bloomberg Speech where he promised that if re-elected he would hold an in-out referendum by 2017. Sadly for him, it hasn’t stemmed the rise of UKIP as he had surely intended. So as we met it was soon became clear what the big debate would be: where to rank Nigel Farage?
UKIP’s performance in this year’s local elections was nothing short of phenomenal. The media finally realised that this was a party that was here to stay, and one that they had to take seriously.
Tory MPs are quite rightly worried about the effect UKIP will have on their re-election prospects. Number 10 has taken on board their growing anxiety and earlier this year Lynton Crosby gave a single one off presentation advising Tory MPs how to tackle UKIP. Farage is the biggest threat in stopping David Cameron keeping the keys to Downing Street, and therefore we placed him just behind the Prime Minister in second place.
Farage has dragged his party keeping and screaming into the 21st century world of modern politics, and for the first time is trying to bring new faces into UKIP. One of those is UKIP’s scouser Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall who enters the list for the first time at 64. Nuttall with his working class charm has a particular appeal to Labour voters in the North, and it is he who is credited with UKIP’s second place in the South Shields by-election.
The 2014 Euro election is the next big battle for the party. Many predict UKIP will top the polls, but the Tories will fight tooth and nail for that not to happen. There are small rises for our two MEPs on the list - Dan Hannan, who takes on Nigel Farage in the South East, and Martin Callanan, leader of the Euro Tories.
Simon Richards enters the list in a week when the main story for Conservative Party has been the “uniting of the right” via pacts between Conservatives and UKIP at a local level. Richards has been the director of The Freedom Association for a number of years and is the man responsible for bringing Farage to Conservative Conference. It is Richards and others like Toby Young and James Delingpole who will try and stop the splintering of the right wing vote in 2015.
While talking about swivelled loons – it is now held as a badge of honour among certain sections of the right – Andrew Feldman sees a big drop in the rankings for his alleged indiscreet comments. Many think he only kept his job because of his status as FOD, Friend of Dave.
The wizard of Oz, election strategist Lynton Crosby, rises up our list as he takes an official role advising the Tories on their re-election. He will have watched the re-election of Angela Merkel and the election of Tony Abbott with a close eye. It proved that right wingers can win in tough times, and he will try to replicate some of their strategies. Having said that, it is perhaps an exaggeration to describe Angela Merkel as a right-winger.
As the 2015 general gets closer and closer, we look at those who will play a key role in writing the next election manifesto for the Conservatives. So the highest new entry goes to Jo Johnson who heads up the new Number 10 Policy Unit. The unit will be crucial in coming up with bold Conservative policies over the next few years, assisted by policy wonks at the right wing think tanks including Mark Littlewood of the IEA, Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayer’s Alliance, and Tim Knox of the Centre Policy Studies. All feature on our list.
It didn’t go amiss among our panel that out of our Top 50 a mere four were women. Eight years on since the creation of the ‘A’ List the Tories still have a ‘woman problem’ as does the Right in general. However, a positive sign comes in the form of the 2010 intake, which takes up 18 places on our list, 7 of whom are female. DWP minister Esther McVey makes a high scoring entry on the list at 48, while her female colleagues Anna Soubry, Andrea Leadsom, Sarah Wollaston and Claire Perry all make an appearance in the bottom half of the list.
David Cameron has now been leader of the Conservative Party for nearly 8 years. As time goes on, leadership chatter becomes more inevitable by the day. In our list Theresa May overtakes Boris in third place, as she emerges as a real contender. She has performed exceptionally well in the usually poisoned chalice of the Home Office. This year she has grown in political gravitas, she’s seen more in the Commons tea rooms and developed a lightness of touch in media interviews. She still wouldn’t look as good as Boris on a zipwire, though.
This year we bid Margaret Thatcher an emotional farewell from our list, although there was some debate as to whether she should remain on our list at Number 10 in perpetuity. Her legacy endures and she will remain an influential figure in death as she did in life. One man who is helping to shape and continue that legacy is Donal Blaney who enters our list at 70. It is he that is working closely with Conor Burns MP to ensure the flame of Thatcherism burns brightly for many years to come by creating a Thatcher Library.
The main dilemma we faced was where to place George Osborne. The Chancellor’s stock is rising once again, and some argued for him to be placed higher as his tentacles stretch into every government department. There is even talk of him now again being a leadership contender. But we felt that Nigel Farage, Theresa May and Boris Johnson had better claims to high positions. The real test for George Osborne is whether he can reverse that decision this time next year.
1. (-) DAVID CAMERON
Prime Minister & Leader of the Conservative Party
A difficult year in which the Prime Minister has had to face almost constant criticism from his backbenchers. At one stage it looked as if there could be more than a few letters heading the way of Graham Brady, the chairman of the ’22. But he has recovered from the Syrian setback by grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat in making it immediately clear he would respect the view of parliament and not seek a second vote. He has pacified Mrs Bone by announcing a married couple’s tax allowance, but appeasement rarely works and the right will be back for more.
2. (+15) NIGEL FARAGE MEP
Leader, United Kingdom Independence Party
What a year it has been for UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Who would have thought that this time last year his annual conference speech would be covered live on television, never mind the speech of UKIP’s economic spokesman Tim Congdon. His media profile is bigger than ever and UKIP is now consistently polling as the third most popular party in the UK. They were launched into the stratosphere this year with a phenomenal performance in the local elections scoring a quarter of the votes and gaining more seats than Labour. That game changing result means it is going to be hard for any party to stop UKIP topping the polls in the 2014 European Elections. Although David Cameron announced he would hold a referendum on Europe it hasn’t harmed UKIP’s popularity. Pity that Farage has lost 45% of his MEPs though. Careless.
3. (+6) THERESA MAY
May’s three years as Home Secretary have been an outstanding success if only for the fact that the Home Office has remained scandal free. Having got rid of Abu Qatada and prevented the extradition of Gary McKinnon, her undoubted leadership ambitions are there for all to see. She has started to outline her political credo by making speeches straying well beyond her brief. But who are the ‘Mayites’ on the Tory benches? She needs to up her profile even further over the next twelve months. If she does, she may well be Boris Johnson’s main rival.
4. (-2) BORIS JOHNSON
Mayor of London
Boris Johnson isn’t even bothering to hide his prime ministerial ambitions any longer. He remains one of the most teflon politicians in Britain. His popularity ensures little mud sticks, even when some of it ought to. But Boris knows he has a problem. He has ruled out standing for Parliament in the 2015 election, yet that would rule him out of being able to stand for the leadership if there were a vacancy in May 2015. He has lately mused about standing for a third term as London Mayor. These musings should be taken with more than a pinch of rock salt.
5. (-1) GEORGE OSBORNE
Chancellor of the Exchequer
For George Osborne this year has by all accounts been the best. Despite admitting that he will not be able to eliminate the deficit as planned by the next election, the economy is growing at a steady pace estimated at 1% so far this year. Employment is also on an upward trajectory. When Britain lost its AAA rating in February it looked like a huge blow for the Chancellor, but it seems to have been forgotten by the public. Helped by a strong budget where he froze petrol duty once again, cut corporation tax, and increased the income tax threshold to £10,000. The measure of his success is the slowing down of attacks from the opposition. “Cutting too far too fast” was not even muttered at this year’s Labour Conference.
6. (+1) 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.
7. (-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. A further 109 free schools opened their doors this September adding to the previous 81. Although we have yet to see the real fruits of this policy, even Labour have resigned themselves to the fact that free schools are here to stay, a major victory for Gove. One of the few cabinet ministers who is not afraid of a bare knuckle fight with opposition politicians, he usually emerges on top.
8. (-2) 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 delivering public services after the Army had to step in during the G4S farce at the Olympics. Many were pleased this year when he sent British warships to Gibraltar during a row over the sovereignty of the Rock. For such a mild-mannered man, Hammond has not been afraid to be seen to have ambitions for the top job.
9. (-1) IAIN DUNCAN SMITH
Secretary of State for Work & Pensions
During last year’s 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 is in the process of implementing his long term welfare reforms, for a team that remained almost untouched during the reshuffle it may appear an easy job. It is not. But this is a battle IDS is determined to win. From the “bedroom tax” to universal credit he has had to fight tooth and nail for every reform in the media and in his own department. He appears to be winning and must be allowed to finish the course.
10. (+35) 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. The Tory grassroots celebrated when it was announced last November that David Cameron had hired him for 2015, although many want to see him in a full time role rather than his current one-day-a-week.
11. (-) 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 has now emerged from her shell and has established herself as a public figure in her own right via her fashion and charity work. It was said this year that she was quick to express her views on the need for Syrian intervention and Cameron was all ears.
12. (-) 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, is 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 means that his political influence continues. His recent conversion to Twitter has highlighted the fact that everything he says has news value.
13. (-8) WILLIAM HAGUE
The government defeat on Syria was both damaging and humiliating for William Hague. It is alleged that he tried to resign but the Prime Minister refused to accept it. Whether this is true or not doesn’t matter as either way he has still lost a huge amount of authority among the Parliamentary party. He is however one of the Prime Minister's closest confidants as well as remaining hugely popular with the voluntary party. He will spend the next year trying to rebuild his former reputation as one of the titanic figures in the government. A word of advice: keep banging the drum for an EU referendum. It pleases the party and the public.
14. (+2) CHRIS GRAYLING
Secretary of State for Justice
After a long wait Grayling finally joined the Cabinet being made Justice Secretary in last year’s reshuffle. He was warmly welcomed by the grassroots as a right wing addition to the Cabinet. Since his appointment he has made an immediate impact decrying the Strasbourg Court for overruling decisions made on human rights by the UK Supreme Court. He has also annoyed many a criminal lawyer up and down this country with cuts to the legal aid budget and reforms to access to justice. There have also been strike threats from Probation Officers over plans to allow charities and private companies to carry out their work.
15. (-2) GRANT SHAPPS
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Young and wildly ambitious, 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. The problem he has is that he is yet to win an election, losing both the Corby and Eastleigh by-elections. His next big challenge is the Euro Elections 2014. Good luck with that, Mr Shapps.
16. (-2) 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.
17. (+6) 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 immediately walked into the costly debacle over the West Coast main line dealing with it fairly well. Despite putting off the issue of airport expansion off until after the next election, HS2 still looms large over his head. The government insist they will go ahead but as the opposition and large parts of the party oppose the scheme it may prove difficult to carry on. 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.
18. (-3) JEREMY HUNT
Secretary of State for Health
Seen as one of the nice guys of British politics, Hunt seemed to have lost his mojo at the DCMS but he is proving to be a surprisingly effective Health Secretary, unafraid to confront the vast vested interests in the NHS machine. He has the calm demeanour of a doctor doing his rounds and is calm under fire. His star may yet be in the ascendant.
19. (+5) 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. It is he who is the repository for letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister, allegedly reaching 30 at the beginning of the summer.
20. (+37) 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 last year’s reshuffle as he replaced Caroline Spelman at Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He is arguably the most conservative member of the Cabinet, cementing this status by voting against the Same-Sex Marriage bill. A climate change sceptic, his promotion angered many green pressure groups, while at the same time pleasing the conservative grassroots who admire his pro-fox hunting and anti-wind farm beliefs. He has performed well on the airwaves as he makes the case for the continued badger cull.
21. (+63) 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". He is clearly steering Cable in the right direction as this year he has led the process of Royal Mail privatisation. He is also now Minister of State for Energy at DECC as well as his BIS role, picking up the role when John Hayes took up his role with Cameron. Of all the junior ministers in the Coalition government he is the one who most deserves to sit around the Cabinet table.
22. (-) LORD FINKELSTEIN
Chairman, Policy Exchange
The recently ennobled Finkelstein is one of the key non politicians within 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. His presence on the red benches is very much welcomed.
23. (-5) 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 has been praised this year for his excellent efficiency savings beating his £8 billion target by 25%. He was also the main player in the government to organise Margaret Thatcher’s funeral which went off without a hitch and under the estimated costs.
24. (-5) 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 will be the most important figure when it comes to the writing of the Conservatives Manifesto for the 2015 General Election.
25. (+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 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.
26. (+29) SAJID JAVID
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
The highest ranked member of the 2010 intake, Javid has gone from PPS to John Hayes, to PPS to George Osborne and now Economic Secretary to the Treasury. 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. He is said to be trusted to work on the same level as Cabinet Ministers. At the age of 25 he became Vice Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, and later senior Managing Director for Deutsche Bank before entering politics. He forms part of an influential quartet who all attended Exeter University at the same time including Tim Montgomerie, Robert Halfon, and David Burrowes.
27. (+5) 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.
28. (+8) DAMIAN GREEN
Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice
Damian Green's thoughtful and non-aggressive approach to the immigration brief has won him plaudits and earned him a good media profile. Cameron then rewarded him with a promotion in last year’s reshuffle moving him to Nick Herbert's old job of Police Minister. 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. He forms part of the most competent Home Office team this country has seen for a long time.
29. (-9) MATTHEW HANCOCK
Joint Parliamentary Under Secretary at Education and Business
Hancock’s inevitable rise up the government ladder was hardly a surprise, not least to himself. 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 is on hand to beef up support for free schools, while helping to defend against the worst excesses of Vince Cable over at Business. His influence on the Chancellor should not be underestimated hence his high position in this list.
30. (-2) CRAIG OLIVER
Director of Communications, 10 Downing Street
Newspaper journalists 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. The knives were out for Oliver after a series of media disasters yet slowly but surely things are improving. The appointment of former Sun journalist Graeme Wilson as his deputy will improve relations with the lobby.
31. (NEW) Jo Johnson MP
Head of the No10 Policy Unit
Earlier this year Boris’ younger brother Jo was catapulted to the heart of Number 10 to head up the Policy Unit. The recruitment was allegedly George Osborne’s idea, and journalists have speculated that building up Jo will knock down his brother. He was not wholly welcomed to the role as it emerged that the 1922 Committee had suggested Peter Lilley for the role. Prior to his election in 2010 he was a well-known journalist at the Financial Times heading the Lex Column. Interestingly he only won the selection for Orpington on the sixth ballot, beating Sajid Javid by one vote.
32. (-11) 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 in 2011 brought him back into the fold. Some more traditional Tories regret that fact that a pollster is directing strategy. Harsher critics say they find it difficult to even spot what the strategy is. Harsh.
33. (-2) 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, of which Tyrie was appointed chairman. This year it reported its recommendations which included jailing reckless bankers and withholding bonuses for up to ten years. The 571 page report was welcomed by the Treasury and will influence banking policy for several years to come.
34. (+6) DANIEL HANNAN
Conservative MEP, Columnist & Blogger
Another year another book from Daniel Hannan, this year's offering is on his specialist subject entitled "Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World ". 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. In next year’s Euro elections he will be going head to head with Nigel Farage, so will undoubtedly play a big part in keeping right wing Tories on board.
35. (+65) JOHN HAYES
Senior Parliamentary Advisor to the Prime Minister
Many were surprised when John Hayes was appointed as Senior Parliamentary Advisor to the Prime Minister, with one Minister commentin that he thought it was an April Fools joke. Cameron brought him in to improve relations with his backbench colleagues and Hayes has done exactly that. He has encouraged the Prime Minister to spend more time in Parliament occasionally popping in to the bars and Tea Rooms. MPs have also commented on the increase number of events they are being invited to at Number 10 since his appointment. Utterly shameless at times, he used this legendary line on the PM programme, “My kind of Conservatism is the Prime Minister’s kind of Conservatism”. Eddie Mair might have observed the Hayes nose growing an inch longer.
36. (+6) MATTHEW SINCLAIR
Chief Executive, TaxPayers' Alliance
Sinclair has been Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance since 2012 and remains a thorn in the side of anyone spending taxpayers’ cash. Undoubtedly the most effective pressure group in Britain, the TPA under Sinclair this year secured the first cut in beer duty from a Chancellor since the 1950s and is setting the agenda with campaigns against Stamp Duty, subsidies for green energy and the increasingly ill-fated HS2, to name but three. The appointment of the redoubtable Jonathan Isaby as the TPA’s Political Director was a wise one, increasing their parliamentary influence beyond measure. Never far from a TV or radio studio, Sinclair is an articulate advocate of the case for small government and low taxes.
37. (+6) JOHN WHITTINGDALE
Chairman, DCMS Select Committee
'Whitto', as he is affectionately known, made his name as Political Secretary to Margaret Thatcher. His work as chairman of the DCMS select committee on the Murdoch inquiry was second to none. Not only does he chair the committee with great skill, but he is perhaps the hardest working of all select committee heads. Much respected by Tory MPs he is a good tip for next chairman of the 1922 Committee.
38. (-) 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.
39. (+37) PAUL GOODMAN
Goodman rises up this year's rankings as he became Editor of ConservativeHome, the leading website of the grassroots and major critic of Cameron's government. He has overseen a major redesign of the entire website, and achieved several new recruitments such as the brilliant Mark Wallace as his Deputy. 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.
40. (+4) 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". However Cameron was quick to forgive and appointed him to the Number 10 Policy Unit this year. That was until he expressed an opinion on Syria which got him the boot. It seems rather odd that you would recruit one of the leading thinkers in the Conservative Party, and then sack them when they have thoughts. Norman will bounce back.
41. (-7) 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 appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury in 2012. 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 seems to have gone underground this year. He would be in the cabinet if it were not for the Liberal Democrats.
42. (NEW) LORD HILL
Leader of the House of Lords
Former Political Secretary to John Major, Joanathan Hill was made a peer following the 2010 General Election. He originally served as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools in the Department for Education, but resigned from the post in September 2012. At least he thought he had. Unfortunately the Prime Minister failed to hear his resignation and great fun was had by the media. Luckily for Lord Hill he decided to carry on in the post and his loyalty was rewarded in January when he was promoted to Leader of the House of Lords.
43. (+55) 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 is himself a member of the Prospect trade union. Before any new policies the Prime Minister should run it past Halfon, as he is arguably the MP with the greatest feeling for what the people are thinking.
44. (-15) STEVE HILTON
Former Director of Strategy, Number 10 Downing Street
Last year we predicted that Hilton “will be back in Downing Street before we know it”. How right we were. After abandoning Downing Street for a year's sabbatical to a Californian university he was expected to come back to his full-time role, instead he is helping the new Number 10 Policy Unit on a part time basis. Many bemoaned the lack of creative policies during his time away but we have yet to see anything truly innovative since his return. He may be only a part time advisor, but when he speaks the Prime Minister listens and herein lies his influence.
45. (+2) 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 last year’s 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, and has lived up to that reputation by warning against nimbyism when it comes to building on the green belt. 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.
46. (+48) 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. One of the few think tanks which is coming up with genuinely innovative ideas, they are sure to play a helping hand with the Conservatives manifesto in 2015.
47. (+2) MATTHEW ELLIOTT
Chief Executive of Business for Britain
A serial setter-up of successful campaigns – the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Big Brother Watch and No2AV were all his doing – Elliott launched his latest venture, Business for Britain, in April. Bringing together business leaders seeking a renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU, he will be in a powerful position to judge the merits of any deal Cameron can secure from Brussels. And after his success with No2AV, he’s the obvious choice to run a future EU referendum campaign – but will he be backing In or Out?
48. (NEW) ESTHER MCVEY
Minister for Disabled People
McVey is the highest ranked woman of the class of 2010 on this list, and one of only four women in the Top 50. Her background is in TV, most famously co-presenting GMTV before going on to start her own business. As a friend of the McCanns she helped set up the Madeleine McCann Fund. Since being elected she has had a fast rise up the greasy pole, being rewarded last year with Minister for Disabled People in last year’s reshuffle. McVey has been highly praised for her defence of the “bedroom tax” and other welfare cuts both at the despatch box and on the media. She once dated Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.
49. (+16) DOMINIC GRIEVE
Grieve is the very definition of a safe pair of hands, and is wrongly viewed by many as simply being rather dull. Cameron has never really understood Grieve’s more liberal instincts and the two don’t really get on. He is more media friendly than attorneys general usually are and is a solid performer. He is a vocal opponent of HS2 around the cabinet table.
50. (-4) 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. Last year he was rightly recognised for his role in ensuring lottery funding went to sport when he was PM, enabling our success at the 2012 Olympics.
51. (+11) 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 last 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 when he accused "Sir Humphrey of dominating policy".
52. (+9) OLIVER DOWDEN
Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister
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. In 2010 he became Cameron’s Political Director, where he was based at Number 11 working closely with CCHQ. Following the reshuffle last September he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff to the PM. His judgement was questioned when he gave an interview to an American TV Station and revealed that most of his time was spent on “crisis management”.
53. (+35) ANNA SOUBRY
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health
As soon as Soubry became Health Minister she immediately caused waves by announcing her support for assisted suicide laws leading to the Department of Health having to deny it had any such plans. Other gaffes this year include saying she took up smoking because of the “gorgeous” packets, and agreeing with the EU to ban menthol cigarettes without consulting parliament. A constant source of amusement, her indiscreet nature has made her a favourite with journalists. In her younger days she was the soap correspondent for This Morning, even standing in for Judy Finnigan on one occasion.
54. (+17) NEIL O'BRIEN
Special Advisor to George Osborne
O’Brien led Cameron's favourite think tank for five years, moving Policy Exchange on to a more aggressive, free-market agenda. Under his leadership the think tank produced many radical papers on planning reform and education which continue to shape government policy. Towards the end of last year he was snapped up by George Osborne to join his team as Special Advisor. It may be a huge loss for Policy Exchange, but his blue collar focus and Scottish roots will prove invaluable for the government in the run up to the next election.
55. (-7) 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 at the Greater London Authority, making £150 million spending cuts to pay for a council tax cut each year for Londoners.
56. (-21) LORD 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. This year Feldman denied that it was he who called certain members of his party “swivelled-eyed loons”. He was lucky to keep his job.
57. (+11) DOMINIC RAAB
MP for Esher & Walton
One of the 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 and for the first time overtaken him in this list. He has contributed to several policy-oriented books including After The Coalition, The Future of Conservatism, and Britannia Unchained calling for radical cuts to regulation. He has had many public spats with Home Secretary Theresa May, most recently over his concerns with the Data Communications Bill. He clearly values his independence as it was reported he turned down a role in the Whips’ Office in the last reshuffle.
58. (-6) LIAM FOX
Former Secretary of State for Defence
In 2011 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. A quiet year for Fox, he has remained very loyal and has concentrated on writing his newly released book Rising Tides: Facing the Challenges of a New Era.
59. (+1) 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. Last 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. He is one of a small group of MPs who has first-hand experience of working in Margaret Thatcher’s government.
60. (+18) HARRY COLE
Another rise up the rankings for Harry Cole, who this year adds Columnist at the Sun on Sunday to his list of jobs including Contributing Editor at The Spectator, monthly writer at GQ, and News Editor at the Guido Fawkes website. 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. It sends shivers down the spine of all the politicians in Westminster, and that is just how he likes it.
61. (NEW) NADHIM ZAHAWI
MP for Stratford-upon-Avon
Born to Kurdish parents in Iraq, Zahawi cut his political teeth as Wandsworth councillor in the 1990s. Although he has airbrushed his stint working for Jeffrey Archer from his CV, it was through the disgraced peer that he met Stephan Shakespeare, with whom he went on to co-found the highly successful polling company, YouGov. Ensconced in a safe seat, Zahawi’s opposition to Lords reform was a rare act of rebellion for one whose ambition and loyal instincts are widely expected to be rewarded with a job before too long.
62. (-37) ANDREW MITCHELL
Former Chief Whip
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, slightly against his wishes, to Chief Whip. Sadly Plebgate claimed his scalp. As we now know from Michael Crick’s leaked CCTV footage the police’s version of events was not accurate. Despite several police officers being arrested, we are still waiting for Mitchell’s return to government.
63. (+7) MARTIN CALLANAN
Leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists 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. He has an important part to play in the run up to next year’s EU elections in trying to stop the rise of UKIP.
64. (NEW) PAUL NUTTALL
Deputy Leader of UKIP
A solid working class Scouser, Nuttall is the perfect antidote to the middle class pin stripes of Nigel Farage. His brilliant performance on Question Time this year only added to his reputation as a strong media performer. His speech at this year’s conference was praised from journalists across the spectrum who rated it higher than Farage’s. He has risen through UKIP’s ranks to become Deputy Leader, and proven that Farage is trying to broaden out the party from the one man band it has been for a long time. It is Nuttall who is credited with winning over large swathes of ex-Labour working class to vote UKIP.
65. (+8) MARIA MILLER
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
One of the lowest profile 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 campaigned prominently in favour of same-sex marriage. The way she dealt with the Leveson Inquiry and her attempt to strangle the free press severely harmed her reputation and many called for her to go. However one of our panellists commented “she has performed well in shitty briefs”.
66. (NEW) DR ARMINKA HELIC
Chief of Staff and SpAd to William Hague
Arminka Helic is the long serving Chief of Staff of William Hague. She has been in the position since 2006 and worked for the Conservative Party since 1999. Her long service has firmly cemented as one of the most trusted figures within the party. A Bosnian Muslim, she fled the genocide of the 1990s and is fiercely pro-American. She is one of the most influential people in the government when it comes to foreign policy, and is very interested in human rights issues and the spreading of democracy. She is well known for her multilingualism.
67. (+7) GREG HANDS
Assistant Treasury Whip
Despite being overlooked for a ministerial position, Hands has remained a loyal part of Team Osborne and 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.
68. (NEW) GAVIN BARWELL
PPS to Michael Gove
Barwell is one of those rare MPs who represents the area he grew up in. The Croydon MP was a long serving party apparatchik prior to the 2010 election, serving in a variety of roles since 1993 most importantly alongside Lord Ashcroft, contributing to the target seat scheme. He is a skilled media performer who takes a special interest in mental health, championing his own Private Members Bill to end the discriminatory ban on people with serious mental health problems serving in Parliament or on juries. He is very much of the Conservative moderniser mould.
69. (NEW) CLAIRE PERRY
PPS to Phillip Hammond
As Advisor to the Prime Minister on Preventing the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, she has singlehandedly led a campaign against online porn and convinced the government along the way. Her proposed form of internet censorship via content filters and opt-in systems has angered many on the libertarian wing of the party. Famed for her outbursts, in 2011 she complained about not be called on in a Commons debate, exclaiming "What do I have to do to get called by the Speaker? Give him a blow job?" We hope there were no children present.
70. (NEW) DONAL BLANEY
CEO of Conservative Way Forward & Young Britons’ Foundation
Staunchly factional, Blaney is the closest thing we have in Britain to a Fox News commentator. He founded the Young Britons’ Foundation whose unparalleled political training has gained him many plaudits, and whose graduates include several Members of Parliament. In 2012 he became CEO of Conservative Way Forward, the influential Thatcherite pressure group. Since the death of Margaret Thatcher he has worked under the guidance of Conor Burns MP to try and build a lasting legacy in the mould of the Reagan Presidential Library. A proud believer in the special relationship he married an American and splits his time between both sides of the Atlantic as a lawyer. Underneath his hard man image he is really a softy, but only to those on the right side of the spectrum.
71. (-13) DAVID DAVIS
Former Shadow Home Secretary
Davis maintains a high media profile and has been at the head of the campaign to highlight the iniquity of Andrew Mitchell’s position. He has maintained his libertarian stance on civil liberties issues but has become a thorn in the side of the government on many other issues too. Still popular in the voluntary party he has found it more difficult to have any real degree of influence on the 2010 intake of Tory MPs, who don’t really ‘get’ him.
72. (-8) SIR MERRICK COCKELL
Conservative leader of the Local Government Association
Charming and urbane, Merrick Cockell made his reputation as leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, which had the third lowest council tax in the country. In 2011 he took over the important position as Tory leader of the LGA, and last year pleaded with the government not to slash the local authority budgets 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. Despite standing down as Leader of Kensington and Chelsea this year, he remains a passionate campaigner for devolution from central to local government.
73. (+8) DAVID JONES
Secretary of State for Wales
After several years as Cheryl Gillan's loyal deputy both in opposition and government, last year David Jones was 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. Even more surprising he is the first Jones to hold the position. A former lawyer, he is a fluent Welsh speaker and used to be the Assembly Member for North Wales. Jones is by far one of the most interesting MPs on Twitter.
74. (NEW) THERESA VILLIERS
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
It is said that when Villiers joined the Cabinet she acted like a teenage girl full of excitement. She may not have believed it, but many had predicted it was her time to shine. The Northern Ireland brief is something of a poisoned chalice where ministers are put out to pasture, but Villiers has performed solidly. Despite several testing issues such as street violence, political marches and a G8 summit, she has dealt with them competently. This will not have gone unnoticed in Number 10.
75. (NEW) NICK PICKLES
Director of Big Brother Watch
By night, Yorkshireman Pickles (no relation to Eric) works as a professional music photographer for the likes of Coldpay, but by day he is one of the country’s leading extra-parliamentary voices on privacy and civil liberties issues. Having long since eclipsed Shami Chakrabarti and Liberty, this year he has helped defeat the “Snoopers’ Charter” and save bloggers from Leveson, while also inflicting defeats on countless public bodies and data-hungry businesses. He fought Yvette Cooper at the 2010 election and ought to be snapped up by a Tory association in a decent seat in time for 2015.
76. (+15) ANDREA LEADSOM
MP for South Northamptonshire
A former Director at Barclays Bank, Andrea Leadsom entered Parliament in 2010 and founded 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. This year she launched the 1001 Critical Days Campaign with Labour MP Frank Field, aiming to promote the importance of the first two years of a child’s life in their future development. Supremely competent, many have spotted something of the Margaret Thatcher about her.
77. (-2) 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. The massive applause he got as he walked up the steps of St Paul’s for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral shows the affection he is held in by the public.
78. (NEW) JAMES WHARTON
MP for Stockton South
Despite only being 29, Wharton has been in the Conservative Party for nearly 15 years. He first joined the party when he was only 16, and made national headlines becoming the youngest Chairman of a local association at 18. He is one of only two Conservative MPs in the North East, and with a majority of only 332 needs to campaign hard to hold onto his seat. Coming first in the ballot of Private Members Bill was certainly a stroke of luck, but the way he has dealt with his European Referendum Bill has been widely praised across the house. His speech proposing the bill was an assured performance, and could lead to future ministerial stardom.
79. (+4) 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 three 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. He was recently awarded Tax Personality of the Year at the Taxation Awards. What an accolade!
80. (NEW) CLARE FOGES
Number 10 Speechwriter
Foges has been Cameron’s speechwriter since 2008 crafting many of his speeches at Party Conference and other key events. An award winning poet, she laments the demise of rhetoric and is one of the few people in modern politics who long for powerful oratory. The widely hailed Bloomberg Speech delivered by Cameron this year was of Foges making. Her closeness and understanding of the Prime Minister has led her to be nicknamed ‘the Prime Minister’s larynx’. Previously she worked on the first Boris for London Mayor Campaign and for John Hayes, but most strangely she once worked on an ice cream van.
81. (NEW) DR SARAH WOLLASTON
MP for Totnes
Wollaston is one of only two Tory MPs who were selected via a proper primary, where every voter in the constituency gets a ballot. It is a sign of her dogged independence of mind that there have been no more of these primaries since. Not your typical rebel, she doesn’t go out of her way to upset the Prime Minister. As a former GP she took a stand against the healthcare reforms which earned her lots of media coverage, and more recently opposed the government on Syria.
82. (NEW) LORD LAWSON
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer
This year Lord Lawson was finally forgiven by Thatcherites when he admitted that he had indeed got it wrong on Europe, arguing now that we should not only have an in-out referendum but that he would campaign for Britain to leave. His other causes of late include opposition to HS2 which he calls a “huge mistake”, and calling for a review of the way the UK makes it climate predictions. A key player on the Banking Commission for Standards he holds strong views on reform of the City.
83. (+4) 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 face a tough year defending HS2 now the opposition and large swathes of his own party are against it. 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. The ultimate survivor.
84. (-18) LORD HOWARD
Leader of the Conservative Party, 2003-5
As a standard bearer of the Tory Right, Howard's remarks made almost 20 years ago 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.
85. (+4) 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. She has fought off calls to split from the national Conservative Party, and will play a key part in next year’s Scottish independence referendum.
86. (NEW) JOHN BARON
MP for Basildon and Billericay
If Lord Feldman was aiming his “swivel-eyed loons” comment at anyone it was John Baron. A serial troublemaker, it was Baron who organised Tory rebels against the planned Syrian intervention. It’s not the first time he has led a Commons revolt against his own Prime Minister who considers him a thorn in his side. When he took over from Teresa Gorman’s as MP for Billericay, many expected a very different attitude from this former Sandhurst Army Officer but it turns out he has inherited her penchant for rebellion.
87. (-2) ELIZABETH TRUSS
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education
Liz Truss – or The Trussette as she is known among Tory MPs - has been widely perceived as doing a good job at the Department for Education, despite the Deputy Prime Minister vetoing her childcare reforms. 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.
88. (-49) JUSTINE GREENING
Secretary of State for International Development
A truly awful year for Justine Greening. 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, led to her demotion to International Development Secretary. This year she failed to attend the crucial Syria vote claiming not to have heard the division bell. She is the minister most widely tipped to be dumped from the Cabinet, but we suspect she will be saved.
89. (-33) DAVID LIDINGTON
Minister for Europe
David Lidington has now been Minister for Europe for more than three 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. Many on the right found it amusing to see this once staunch opponent to an EU referendum having to argue for a referendum on the airwaves this year.
90. (+3) 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, better informed. 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. For those who place influence on numbers, their Annual Lunch this year attracted more than 100 Conservative MPs.
91. (NEW) SIMON RICHARDS
Director of the Freedom Association
In a week when Toby Young is calling on UKIP and Conservatives to Unite the Right, he could do no better than to give Simon Richards a call. Dubbed by many as “the nicest man in politics”, Richards has brought The Freedom Association back to life over the last few years. It is now one of the most valued pressure groups on the right, acting as a forum of communication between those on the right of the Conservative Party and those in UKIP. Their regular Westminster Pub quizzes have gained cult status, as well as their annual Freedom Zones at Conservative Party Conference. As the man in charge of Better Off Out he will play a key role during the future in-out referendum.
92. (NEW) CHARLES WALKER
MP for Broxbourne
A true parliamentarian, Walker has no desire to hold ministerial office but instead holds the executive to account and best serves his constituents making him a truly “honourable” member. He has the wonderful ability to create a good line, from “If not now, when?” on an EU referendum to opening up a speech on mental health with “speaking as a practising fruitcake.” And it is on the issue of mental health where he has really made his mark, giving a heartfelt speech in the Commons earning him Speech of the Year at the Spectators Awards. Walker is also a valued member of the Conservative Party Board.
93. (NEW) PETER CRUDDAS
Former Treasurer of the Conservative Party
Last year Cruddas was unceremoniously dumped as co-treasurer of the Conservative Party when the Sunday Times wrote that he had offered inappropriate access to the Prime Minister in return for cash. The claims turned out to be untrue and Cruddas was awarded large damages this year. He has not forgotten who supported him during the time, even holding a thank you party for his supporters. More importantly though, he remembers who didn’t support him, especially the Prime Minister. He rightly still feels very bitter about the whole saga. Cruddas knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and Cameron needs to treat this relationship with care.
94. (NEW) BARONESS ANELAY
Chief Whip in the House of Lords
Not a widely recognised name even among the politicos of Westminster. Baroness Anelay is quietly effective at ensuring an iron rod of discipline among Conservative peers. Prior to her joining the House of Lords in 1996 she was a school teacher and a senior figure in the voluntary wing of the Conservative Party. She is widely tipped to be the next Leader of the House of Lords. Her bouffant thatch is something to be marvelled at.
95. (-) TIM KNOX
Director of the Centre for Policy Studies
After Mrs Thatcher's death earlier this year, the CPS has re-iterated the case for liberty she made most effectively. Working alongside the CPS's Chief Economist Ryan Bourne, Knox has overseen a renaissance at the CPS. They claimed ThinkTank paper of the year at the Progress think-tank awards, and have produced key papers on rail competition and the case for Heathrow expansion. We understand that next year Knox has big plans to coincide with their 40th anniversary, including a major international conference. The CPS is on the rise.
96. (NEW) ANDREW DUNLOP
Advisor to David Cameron on Scotland
A quiet recruitment, Dunlop was appointed as David Cameron’s Advisor on Scotland at the beginning of 2012. He came in to help bolster the Conservative team helping to run the “No” campaign for the Scottish Independence Referendum. A former member of Margaret Thatcher’s Policy Unit during her time in Number 10, he has been criticised in Scotland for spending most of his life south the border. As we get closer and closer to the referendum he will play an ever increasing role.
97. (-17) 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. In her three years as an MP some expected more from her. However we wouldn’t rule her out of a promotion in the coming reshuffle.
98. (+1) MARK HARPER
Minister of State for Immigration
Up until last year Harper worked as Nick Clegg's deputy, pushing the AV referendum through the Commons, and was 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 may be a skilled performer but even he struggled to defend the “Go Home” immigration vans which were deemed racist.
99. (NEW) DAVID SKELTON
Director of Renewal
After a stint as acting director of Policy Exchange (he had been deputy director), Skelton left the think-tank in April shortly after Neil O’Brien’s replacement took the helm. He has since founded Renewal, with the aim of broadening Tory appeal to working class, ethnic minority and Northern voters previously turned off by anyone wearing a blue rosette. Hailing from Durham, Skelton contested a hopeless seat in the county in 2010, but will have to look further afield than his native North East if he wants a safe Tory berth for the 2015 election.
100. (NEW) SAM GYIMAH
PPS to David Cameron
Last September Gyimah was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Private Secretary. Black and state schooled, he doesn’t fit with the usual stereotype of Cameron’s inner circle. By virtue of his appointment the Prime Minister clearly sees potential in Gyimah, but many question what his purpose is now that the Prime Minister has John Hayes as his Senior Parliamentary advisor.