DALE Iain Krieg illustration square

Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

Each year for the last nine years I have convened a panel to compile a list of the 100 most influential people on the Right.

This year our panel was comprised of a current Member of Parliament and former minister, two right-leaning journalists, a party agent and a prominent Vote Leave campaigner.

The most difficult thing when deciding who to include and exclude, is to define what ‘influence’ actually means. In the end it means being influential in a combination of national politics, the media, the Conservative Party and its leader.

In all, there are 33 new entries in the whole list, the most since the list began. Out go a whole host of Cameroons including Samantha Cameron, Ed Llewellyn, Andrew Feldman, Catherine Fall, Grant Shapps, Nick Boles, Craig Oliver and Giles Kenningham.

In come a whole raft of Theresa Mayites including her key advisers Stephen Parkinson, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. Indeed Hill and Timothy are the highest new entries, both at number two. The highest new entries among politicians are Justine Greening at number nine and Andrea Leadsom at 21.

UKIP have a bit of churn this year. Out go Paul Nuttall and Raheem Kassam, but the new leader Diane James returns to the list at 52. Nigel Farage clings onto the top 20, but drops 12 places to 16. The biggest UKIP riser is Arron Banks who leaps 47 places and is above James. He will no doubt take great pleasure in the 44 places Douglas Carswell has dropped. Suzanne Evans and Stephen Woolfe also cling on.

Interestingly, the number of the women in this year’s list has risen from 17 to 24, the highest ever. However, in the Left list there are 37, so some way to go.

It’s quite clear that this has been a year of change and surprise. Who would have predicted that David Davis would be this year’s highest riser – from 83 to 4? Next year things will no doubt stabilise.

1. (+4) Theresa May

Prime Minister

Mistress of all she surveys, May has wasted no time in junking much of the Cameron/Osborne legacy. Ascending to the leadership without a fight, she is scoring very high popularity ratings both among Conservative supporters and the electorate more generally. You’re never more powerful than in your first six months as Prime Minister, and it is clear Mrs May has worked this out for herself.

2. (NEW) Nick Timothy & Fiona Hill

Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Prime Minister

It’s unusual for us to put two people together on this list but Timothy and Hill work so closely that they are perceived as one. Forced out of the Home Office by David Cameron they have wasted little time in getting a little bit of revenge, and very sweet it must have been too. Hill has an iron grip on the media operation, while no policy from any department goes ahead without Nick Timothy’s stamp of approval. They’ve recruited well, especially in their choice of media team. These two could well develop into the most powerful pair of government advisers since Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell. And that’s meant as a compliment.

3. Philip May

First Gentleman

There was always a debate in previous years as to whether Samantha Cameron should have been included on this list. There was no debate about the inclusion of Philip May. He is just as much a political animal as his wife, and she consults him on more or less everything. Deeply devoted to Conservative politics, he is also a very, very nice man, and incredibly hard working.

4. (+79) David Davis

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Well, who’d have thought it? The one time leadership contender and serial rebel has been rehabilitated by May to take on possibly the biggest single task asked of any British politician in recent memory – to negotiate Britain’s way out of the EU. His reputation as a serial rebel has to be put into cold storage and he knows there can’t be a tissue paper between him and May. He’s aware of the risk she has taken with him and intends to repay that trust in full.

5. (+4) Ruth Davidson

Leader, Scottish Conservatives

Last year we wrote: “Davidson has had a stonking year in charge of the Scottish Conservatives.” This year has been even better, as she led the Scottish Tories into second place in the May elections to the Scottish Parliament, something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

6. (+6) Philip Hammond

Chancellor of the Exchequer

A disappointing Foreign Secretary, who like most foreign secretaries went native in King Charles Street, he was thought to be on his way out had Cameron survived. Instead, his close friend May made him Chancellor. He has the opportunity to be a radical chancellor, although most pundits do not expect him to be a risktaker. Having been an avid Eurosceptic in opposition, he seems to delight in tweaking the tail of Brexiteers. A dangerous game for him to indulge in at the moment.

7. (+3) Boris Johnson

Foreign Secretary

The most unlikely appointment as Foreign Secretary since David Owen, our FCO sources tell us that Boris is very popular at King Charles Street and he has charmed many foreign dignitaries who he has met in his first three months in the job. He’s recovered his BoJo mojo after the devastation of his defenestration by Michael Gove. His main challenge will be to carve out a role in a job which has been reduced in stature as David Davis and Liam Fox seem to nibble away at the portfolio.

8. (+6) Sir Michael Fallon

Secretary of State for Defence

Fallon is a reassuring figure at Defence. Having come to the Cabinet fairly late in life, he’s been a great survivor. An effective media performer, like Hammond he was a surprisingly firm advocate of Remain, when all his political life we had all viewed him as a trenchant Eurosceptic.

9. (NEW) Justine Greening

Secretary of State for Education

A close ally of May, Greening dropped out of last year’s list. She clearly hated being at International Development so is cock-a-hoop at returning to a mainstream and important department of government. With universities added to the portfolio, she knows how important it is for her to succeed. Let’s hope she gets a new lease of political life.

10. (+48) Amber Rudd

Home Secretary

Rudd cemented her reputation as an effective performer in the EU referendum debates. She may have got a lot of criticism for ripping into Boris Johnson, but it made her a contender. Rudd will struggle to lose her ‘Remain Cheerleader’ status but no one should be blind to the fact that she is a top drawer politician in her prime.

11. (NEW) Stephen Parkinson

Political Secretary, Number Ten Downing Street

Worked closely with Timothy and Hill as one of May’s three Home Office SpAds. Parkinson is a popular figure in Conservative Party circles. He left the Home Office to work for Vote Leave and has been Director of the Conservative History Group for some years. His is a crucial role in the Downing Street machine.

12. (+19) Greg Clark

Secretary of State for Business, Energy, Innovation & Skills

Clark has risen almost effortlessly through the ranks. Both competent and transparently nice, he’s been a success in every role he has taken on. His new, slightly unwieldy and illogical department will provide him with a real challenge in terms of management. His emollient style should help pacify some of the more vigorous vested interests who will be pressing him for sweeties.

13. (+4) Chris Grayling

Secretary of State for Transport

Having been a leading player in the Leave campaign many people were writing off Grayling’s future prospects under Cameron, but he played a clever hand in the EU referendum, staying on the side of loyalty and never straying. When Cameron went he immediately spotted May would win and she appointed him her campaign manager. Some were surprised that he wasn’t offered the Brexit or Trade jobs, but in Transport he is like a pig in the proverbial. When he says it’s his dream job, not everyone believes him, but they should. It’s true.

14. (-8) Jeremy Hunt

Secretary of State for Health

Hunt has had a difficult year with the junior doctors and it was thought May would move him. And if it hadn’t been for Stephen Crabb resigning, she undoubtedly would have. Hunt was brought in to the Health job to calm the NHS after the Lansley reforms. He achieved that in the short term, but his task now must surely be to do it all over again.

15. (-2) Lord Michael Ashcroft

Businessman & Philanthropist

Lord Ashcroft has been relatively silent over the last year, following his severe illness last autumn. But his influence endures through his writing, his proprietorship of ConservativeHome and polling. With Cameron gone, and his admiration for May apparent, it’s difficult to imagine the Good Lord declining in influence this year.

16. (-12) Nigel Farage

Former Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party

The one thing that we can be sure about is that Farage isn’t about to disappear from the political scene. America may well be seeing more of him in the next twelve months, but he will no doubt be around to ‘guide’ his successor from the back seat of the car in the way that only Farage can. No one bets against him making a return to the leadership before 2020.

17. (+57) Liam Fox

Secretary of State for International Trade

One of the three Brexiteers, Fox’s job is in some ways more difficult than the other two, because in theory he won’t have anything to show for his endeavours until Brexit is achieved at some point in 2019. All he can do is lay the ground work. He must be careful to avoid too many turf wars with Johnson and Davis. Recruiting a whole army of trade negotiators is his short term priority.

18. (+7) Graham Brady

Chairman, 1922 Committee

Given Brady has been the chief cheerleader for grammar schools since 1997, it is something of a mystery as to why he wasn’t appointed a Minister of State in the Department of Education, or indeed Secretary of State. He’d have been the perfect exponent for the policy.

19. (+45) Gavin Williamson

Chief Whip

One of the few Cameroons to survive regime change, Williamson’s appointment as chief whip caused more than a few raised eyebrows, given his comparative youth and inexperience. However, he did a sterling job as Cameron’s PPS and was trusted by Tory MPs to relay their concerns. Does he have the steel and the political nous to be an effective chief whip with a majority of 12? We’re about to find out.

20. (+10) Sir Patrick McLoughlin

Chairman of the Conservative Party

Last year we called McLoughlin “a great survivor” and “the ultimate safe pair of hands”. We see no reason to change our minds. He’s likely to be a popular chairman but will he be a reforming chairman? So far he seems set to implement the Feldman reforms on party structures but he is likely to have ideas of his own, too.

21. (NEW) Andrea Leadsom

Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Leadsom dropped out of last year’s list as it became clear she had been given the black spot by Osborne. This year her profile shot up during the EU referendum campaign, where she was one of the best debators for Vote Leave. Her leadership campaign may have crashed and burned but her cabinet position gives her a front row seat and an opportunity to be an important part of the debate. She’s kept her counsel since the events of July, and would be well advised to continue to do so.

22. (NEW) Karen Bradley

Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport

Somewhat of a surprise appointment, Bradley is another of May’s former Home Office colleagues who has been looked after by her former boss. Hugely popular in the parliamentary party, Bradley is tougher than she may first appear, as the BBC may well confirm.

23. (+45) David Gauke

Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Almost a Treasury lifer, Gauke is very adept at playing a straight bat in TV and radio interviews when both he and the interviewer know he’s on a sticky wicket. It’s quite a talent. He’s a tough negotiator, as various cabinet ministers have found out.

24. (-21) Lynton Crosby

Co-owner, Crosby Textor Fullbrook

Crosby remains a hugely popular figure in the Conservative Party even if he does have the odd enemy. His decision to opt out of advising either side in the referendum campaign was the right one and although his company failed to pull off an unlikely win for Zac Goldsmith in the London mayoral campaign he remains in prime position to run the Conservative 2020 general election campaign.

25. (-23) George Osborne

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer

We described Osborne last year as being “at the height of his powers”. What a difference a year makes. We also said that being the favourite to take over from Cameron was “a dangerous position to hold as he well knows”. Since his dismissal by May he has carefully positioned himself as the Prince Over the Water. That too, can be quite a dangerous position, but expect him to make lots of efforts to improve his popularity with his parliamentary colleagues and the voluntary party.

26. (NEW) Katie Perrior

Director of Communications, Number 10 Downing Street

Hugely popular among both MPs and lobby journalists, Perrior first came to public notice when she and her colleague Jo Tanner ran Johnson’s media in his 2008 mayoral campaign. Since then the both of them have run the highly successful inHouse PR firm. Working hand in glove with Hill, Perrior is a natural at putting out media fires and persuasively briefing journalists. Having said that, she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, as those working with her soon realise.

27. (+10) Matthew Elliott

Former Chief Executive, Vote Leave

Elliott’s star has never been higher, unless your name’s David Cameron. Having now run two successful referendum campaigns, and successfully kept Dominic Cummings more or less under control, Elliott ought to now be running something big in the Conservative Party. The fact that he isn’t says more about them, than him.

28. (NEW) George Hollingbery

PPS to Theresa May

Elected in 2010, George Hollingbery is devoted to May and is an effective communicator to her of the views of his fellow Tory MPs. He is well aware of her lack of small talk and it’s no exaggeration to say that he is almost as important to May as Ian Gow was to Margaret Thatcher.

29. (+4) Daniel Hannan

MEP for South East England

Hannan had a good referendum campaign, coming across as one of the more sensible voices for Leave. He will surely be a shoo-in for a safe Westminster seat in 2020. A prolific author, he may well play a very important part in the Brexit negotiations.

30. (+4) Paul Goodman


One of the few non-MPs on this list who can phone up any cabinet minister and they’ll take his call immediately. He seems to have become more radical as the years go by and isn’t afraid to offer constructive criticism where he feels it is merited. ConservativeHome traffic is at an all-time high, and deservedly so.

31. (NEW) Damian Green

Secretary of State for Work & Pensions

A close friend of May from their university days, Damian Green was always tipped to return to ministerial office if she became leader. This may not be his dream department, but it’s an astute appointment by May, as he always comes across on the media as the voice of sweet Tory reason.

32. (NEW) Richard Harrington

PUSS, Department of Work & Pensions

The highest-ranking junior minister, Harrington became close to May while in his job as minister for Syrian refugees at the Home Office. At a recent dinner with May for her closest confidantes, Harrington was one of the eight people present.

33. (NEW) John Godfrey

Head of the Number Ten Policy Unit

A former Home Office SpAd in the 1990s, Godfrey comes to the job from a nine-year stint running Comms for Legal & General. A staunch supporter of the Union, it will be interesting to see how radical he will be in terms of new policy proposals.

34. (-13) Lord Daniel Finkelstein

Columnist, The Times

Finkelstein drops in this year’s list even though his Times columns make for compulsory reading. Why? Because he was seen as an arch Cameroon and is George Osborne’s best friend. He’s said to be helping David Cameron write his memoirs.

35. (+15) Brandon Lewis

Minister for Police and the Fire Service

A rising star, and an excellent media performer, Lewis was unlucky not to make full Cabinet, and he will be one of the first knocking on the door in the next reshuffle.

36. (+19) Sheridan Westlake

Special Advisor, No 10 Downing Street

Having spent many years working in the CRD and then for Eric Pickles, Sheridan Westlake took on a new enforcement role in Downing Street under David Cameron. He is one of the few Cameron Downing Street appointments to be kept on by May. He is thought to be the link man with Davis’s Brexit department for the Prime Minister.

37. (+32) Liz Truss

Secretary of State for Justice

Last year we said that Truss’s “all too obvious leadership ambitions will be thwarted unless she is able to show more of what she is undoubtedly capable of “ by being moved from DEFRA. We were right. They were and she wasn’t. However, her appointment to Justice was, shall we say, one of the more jaw-dropping of the reshuffle. Another square peg in a round hole role, we fear. However, it’s one of the more senior jobs in cabinet, so she rises in this year’s list.

38. (+22) James Chapman

Chief of Staff to David Davis

The former political editor of the Daily Mail was Communications Director for Osborne at the Treasury and a staunch advocate of Britain remaining in the EU. So when he was appointed by Davis to a new role as his chief of staff, many were rather surprised to say the least. But it proves what a valuable asset Davis thinks he will be.

39. (-28) Michael Gove

Former Secretary of State for Justice

What a difference a year makes. Gove plummets down this list for obvious reasons. However, don’t bet against him making a return to the top twenty – perhaps not next year, or even the year after, but May knows he makes a dangerous opponent on the back benches and has given him hope of a return if he keeps his nose clean. So far he has. So far…

40. (-8) Andrew Tyrie

Chairman, Treasury Select Committee

Tyrie has been an excellent chairman of the Treasury Select Committee. He may radiate calmness and niceness, but he has the forensic ability to question a witness which some of his colleagues sadly do not. Likely to remain in the spotlight as he quizzes Brexit ministers.

41. (+12) Fraser Nelson

Editor, The Spectator

Nelson was appointed editor at a comparatively young age, but he has more than lived up to both Andrew Neil’s and his readers’ expectations. An articulate exponent of right of centre politics, one wonders what his next move will be. Perhaps into elected politics?

42. (+15) Priti Patel

Secretary of State for International Development

Said to regret not standing for the leadership, Patel’s profile inevitably rose during the referendum campaign. However, to appoint her to run a department she would quite like to abolish shows May has a wicked sense of humour.

43. (NEW) Anne Milton

Deputy Chief Whip

A former nurse and subsequently a junior health minister, Milton has been a very effective whip. Many thought she might get the top job, but it wasn’t to be. Very popular in the parliamentary party, Milton’s rise has been slow but sure. We think she will continue her ascent.

44. (+26) Syed Kamall

Leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European Parliament

Fought a competent campaign to get the nomination for Conservative candidate for London mayor, coming second. Kamall was the subject of a tirade of abuse in a telephone call from Cameron when he announced he was supporting Leave, but as things have turned out, that has done his career prospects no harm at all. Likely to get a Westminster seat in 2020.

45. (NEW) Baroness Evans

Leader of the House of Lords

Baroness who? That was the response from most people when it was announced she had replaced the popular Baroness Stowell as Leader of the House of Lords. Natalie Evans is a long term friend of May from her Women2Win days. And that’s about as much as we know!

46. (+5) Mark Littlewood

Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs

Littlewood has had a successful period in charge of one of the oldest think tanks in the country. A pugnacious debater, he is one of the best advocates of free market economics.

47. (+33) Arron Banks


Banks is an acquired taste for many. A former donor to the Conservatives, he switched his allegiances to UKIP and now funds the UKIP Leave.EU campaign, which continues to campaign to ensure Britain really does leave the EU. Loud, outspoken and brash, his forthcoming ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’ diaries are likely to shock and amuse in equal measure.

48. (NEW) Lizzie Loudon

Press Secretary to Theresa May

A very effective operator she had previously been a SpAd for Iain Duncan Smith and press officer for Vote Leave.

49. (-31) Iain Duncan Smith

Former Leader of the Conservative Party

Having resigned from the Government earlier in the year he then became one of the most vocal leaders of Vote Leave. His cabinet career appears at an end and he will now carve out a niche for himself as a distinguished elder statesman of the Conservative Party. He will be a leading proponent of holding the government’s feet to the fire to ensure no backsliding over Brexit.

50. (-49) David Cameron

Former Prime Minister

Having been in the top two of this list ever since its inception in 2007 our panel found it very difficult to place Cameron this year, for obvious reasons. So we copped out and placed him half way down. He would have been higher if he’d stayed in Parliament, but it seems clear that he won’t be participating in active politics and will instead concentrate on writing his memoirs.

51. (-15) Jo Johnson

Minister for Universities

Johnson has failed to build on his early promise and his rise up the greasy pole has come to a shuddering halt. He headed the team which wrote the last Conservative manifesto, but that failed to propel his career forward. If he doesn’t make the Cabinet in the next reshuffle, it’s doubtful he ever will.

52. (NEW) Bernard Jenkin

Chair, Public Administration Select Committee

Jenkin has had a good year. A leading light in the campaign to leave the referendum, he has also been a very effective head of the Public Administration Select Committee.

53. (-38) Mark Harper

Former Chief Whip

Thought to be a shoo-in as a minister in May’s first cabinet, Mark Harper must have been devastated when he was offered a demotion from Chief Whip to a minister of state. He decided to resign from the government instead. A very talented politician, it is a mystery as to why he was given the heave-ho.

54. (+27) Sarah Wollaston

Chair of the Health Select Committee

The maverick’s maverick, many of her fellow MPs don’t regard her as a team player. However, to others she is the exemplification of what a decent MP should be – open-minded, willing to speak out against her own party if need be, diligent and honest. Her flip-flopping on the referendum may have annoyed some, but the public like and respect her.

55. (-15) Anna Soubry

MP for Broxtowe

Another talented Minister who is out of government, Soubry was thought to be at the front of the queue of ministers of state knocking on the cabinet door. She irritated many with her OTT pronouncements on Brexit, but she has become and accomplished media performer and is a massive loss to the front bench.

56. (-15) William Hague

Former Foreign Secretary

Some of us thought Hague was a Eurosceptic but his interventions in the EU Referendum campaign proved what many of us suspected – that he went native during his five years as Foreign Secretary. A pity. However, he remains a politician who is listened to whenever he decides to make a pronouncement.

57. (-12) Neil O’Brien

Special Adviser to Theresa May

The former head of Policy Exchange, O’Brien was the man behind the Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and came up with many of the former Chancellor’s more populist ideas. Since Osborne’s demise he has moved from Number 11, Downing Street to Number 10 and is now a key adviser to May.

58. (-39) Nicky Morgan

Former Secretary of State for Education

May and Morgan do not get on. Never have. So Morgan’s sacking came as little surprise to her or others. She has already become the most outspoken critics of the Prime Minister on the Tory benches. Time will tell if this is a good move on her part or not.

59. (-31) Robert Halfon

Minister of State, Department of Education

One of the most popular members of the parliamentary party, Halfon had a difficult year, surviving a minor personal scandal to live another day. He was promoted in the July reshuffle, and is an outside bet to join the cabinet before too long.

60. (+7) Katie Hopkins

Columnist, MailOnline and LBC Presenter

The woman people seem to love to hate, she’s actually quite a pussycat. She may have lost her Sun column, but she immediately bounced back by bagging a role on MailOnline and a weekly LBC show.

61. (NEW) Jimmy McLoughlin

Head of Business Relations, Number Ten Downing Street

A popular young(ish) Tory activist, McLoughlin has spent the past few years advising businesses through his employment as a public affairs consultant. He is a popular new addition to the Number 10 staff.

62. (NEW) Stephen Phillips

Secretary to the Conservative Party Board

A career Conservative Party apparatchik, Phillips started life as an agent but has been a fixture at Conservative Campaign Headquarters for at least two decades. No changes of note in the Party get passed through without his approval. A real behind the scenes mover and shaker.

63. (-18) Tim Montgomerie

Columnist, The Times

Montgomerie was supposed to have spent the last year in the US, but because of the Referendum he’s made more transatlantic trips than a BA 747. Had a different candidate replaced David Cameron he may have hoped for a senior position in Number Ten, but instead he retains his position as an influential Times columnist.

64. (-2) Lord Stuart Polak

Director, Conservative Friends of Israel

One of the shrewdest single issue pressure group lobbyists around, Polak joined the Conservative benches in the House of Lords last year. He influence on Conservative policy towards the Middle East is unlikely to decline.

65. (NEW) Christian May

Editor, City AM

A former lobbyist at the Institute of Directors, Christian May was a surprise choice to take over the editorship of City AM from Allister Heath, but boy oh boy was it an inspired one. He has lifted its profile, increased its turnover and distribution. And he’s making a name for himself as a pundit. One to watch over the next twelve months.

66. (-) Paul Staines

Managing Editor, Guido Fawkes blog

The site everyone in politics loves to read, unless they feature on it. Staines has built up an impressive business and survived the loss of Harry Cole to the world of tabloid journalism. Alex Wickham has proved to be an able replacement.

67. (NEW) Diane James

Leader of UKIP

It wasn’t a surprise that James beat her rather unimpressive colleagues to take over the leadership of UKIP, the surprise was that she ran at all. Her problem over the next year will be to escape Farage’s shadow and to find a way of appealing to northern Labour voters. Without their support, she will find it difficult to make any sort of breakthrough.

68. (+5) Dean Godson

Director, Policy Exchange

Godson has made some impressive hires in recent months as Policy Exchange tries to make the transition from Cameron to May. They were seen as almost an adjunct of Number 10 in the Cameron years. We will see if May has other ideas.

69. (+7) Charles Moore

Columnist, The Spectator

Currently writing the final volume of his biography of Thatcher, Moore remains an absolute must-read in the Spectator and Telegraph.

70. (NEW) Gavin Barwell

Minister for Housing

By common consent one of the nicest people in politics, Barwell was handed one of the trickiest portfolios in government by May. If he can get housing policy right, he could well prove to be an election winner.

71. (+8) Matthew Parris

Columnist, The Times and The Spectator

For many he is the pre-eminent columnist of his generation. He can write entertainingly about anything and never bores, mainly because of his endearing unpredictability. Probably the most read columnist among Tory MPs.

72. (-48) Matthew Hancock

Minister of State, DCMS

Widely seen as a demotion, Hancock insists he has the best job in government as the new minister for digital communication. Hmmm. Seen as Osborne’s vicar on earth, Hancock has had to quickly adapt to the new era, and has proved to be a great survivor.

73. (+5) Simon Heffer

Columnist, Sunday Telegraph

He may not be a modern Conservative’s cup of tea but he’s unmissable. A truly brilliant writer, he gets to the nub of an argument more quickly than most and his books are unrivalled.

74. (-63) Sajid Javid

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Oh what might have been. Seen as the most dogged Eurosceptic in the cabinet, everyone was astonished when he came out for Remain. Having been seen as a future leader he instantly lost the trust of everyone on the Right and he will find it difficult to recover. Some say it will be impossible. It was therefore easy for May to demote him.

75. (NEW) Arlene Foster

First Minister of Northern Ireland

A slight unknown quantity to people outside Northern Ireland, Foster has proved to be a popular successor to Peter Robinson. She needs to up her profile in Westminster and on the UK-wide media.

76. (NEW) Sam Bowman

Executive Director, Adam Smith Institute

One of the brightest new proponents of libertarianism and free market economic, he had good teachers in Madsen Pirie and Eamonn Butler.

77. (NEW) Will Walden

Director of Communications to Boris Johnson

A big, bluff character who doesn’t suffer fools gladly he is one of the few people who is able to discipline Boris, and seems to rather enjoy doing it. Boris’s successful transition to Foreign Secretary is in no small part down to Walden.

78. (NEW) David Lidington

Leader of the House of Commons

Popular with MPs on all sides of the House, Lidders – as he is known – had spent six years as Europe Minister and if anyone deserved a move and a promotion it was him. He’ll never make the headlines, but he’s in a job which is vital to the smooth functioning of government. And if anyone fits a job like a hand in a glove, he does.

79. (-63) Zac Goldsmith

MP for Richmond Park

It’s certainly not been an easy year for Zac, and it could yet get worse. Having lost the campaign to be London mayor, he has almost disappeared from public view. With the Heathrow decision about to land, he’s likely to hit the headlines again.

80. (NEW) Poppy Trowbridge

Special Adviser to Philip Hammond

In personality terms, the polar opposite to her new boss, Poppy Trowbridge has been brought in to do for Hammond what Thea Rodgers did for Osborne. Her experience as Sky’s Consumer Affairs Editor will be invaluable in advising the Chancellor on some of his more hard-edged policies.

81. (-39) Greg Hands

Minister of State for International Trade

It will have been a blow to Hands to lose his Cabinet position but at least he survived, unlike many of Osborne’s close allies. He will be delighted to be at the centre of the Brexit debate, even if he surprised many of his friends by supporting Remain. However, he ‘supported’ Remain in the same way as Theresa May did.

82. (-38) Douglas Carswell

UKIP MP for Clacton

Last year we said: “Nowadays he looks a fish out of water in UKIP and one can’t help wondering whether he has come to regret his defection.” That still holds true today despite Farage’s retirement as leader. He has promised his full support to Diane James, but it’s likely he will continue to plough a lonely furrow.

83. (-24) Tracey Crouch

Minister for Sport

If ever there was a round peg in a round hole as a minister, it’s Crouch. A qualified football coach, she has made a blinding start in her new job. She drops in this year’s list as she hasn’t been around for much of the year, being on maternity leave. Still one to watch, though.

84. (-23) Dominic Cummings

Former Communications Director, Vote Leave

Cummings played a key role in Vote Leave and retains his reputation as a brilliant campaigning strategist, even if he is reviled by large parts of the centre right. It will be interesting to see what his next move is.

85. (-13) Sir Eric Pickles

Conservative MP for Brentwood and Ongar

One of the best performing cabinet ministers in the Coalition, Pickles should never have been disposed of. But he’s bounced back by leading a task force on corruption and becoming chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel.

86. (NEW) Stephen Woolfe


Many UKIPers scratched their heads in collective bewilderment when Stephen Woolfe laid down and accepted his party’s decision to ban him from standing for the leadership on the basis he had submitted his nomination papers a few minutes late. Time will tell if he can recover.

87. (NEW) Toby Young

Columnist and Broadcaster

Young has become an almost constant presence on our screens and radios, giving his views on all sorts of issues. An eloquent broadcaster and combative writer, he’s never knowingly uncontroversial.

88. (NEW) Roger Scruton


It’s a crime that Scruton hasn’t been an ever-present on this list since its inception. His written articulation of what it is to be a Conservative should be read by anyone who has even the vaguest aspiration to describe themselves as one.

89. (-38) Suzanne Evans

Former UKIP Deputy Chairman

Having written the UKIP manifesto, and getting many plaudits for it, Evans was seemingly Farage’s heir apparent, but he then took against her and she ended up with a six month suspension from the party. Many are surprised that she hasn’t returned to the Conservatives and it will be interesting now to see what role within UKIP she carves out for herself.

90. (NEW) Lord George Bridges

Minister of State, Department for Leaving the EU

Tasked with selling the Brexit negotiations to the House of Lords, May couldn’t have picked a better number two for Davis. Thoughtful, brainy and collegiate, he’s the ideal candidate for the role.

91. (-1) Mark Wallace

Executive Editor, ConservativeHome

Wallace brings a bright, pugnacious approach to ConservativeHome and rarely sits on the fence in his writings. He often has some uncomfortable messages for the Conservative Party.

92. (NEW) George Freeman

Chair, Prime Minister’s Policy Board

Freeman has been vocal in selling his new position, chairing the Prime Minister’s policy board, as a promotion from his previous role as Minister of State for Life Sciences. Hmmm. Up to a point, Lord Copper. He will now have to prove he can have real influence on policy development.

93. (-47) Donal Blaney

Founder of the Margaret Thatcher Centre and Young Britons’ Foundation

To say this has been a difficult year for Blaney would be an understatement. It has been dominated by the aftershocks of the tragic death of Elliot Johnson. Blaney closed down YBF and resigned from Conservative Way Forward. He may have plummeted on this list, but he will be back.

94. (NEW) Martin Durkin   

Documentary Filmmaker

His Brexit: The Movie, largely funded by Arron Banks, was a brilliant example of the polemical documentary and given that it was entirely on online project, attracted a huge audience.

95. (NEW) Kate Andrews

News Editor, Institute of Economic Affairs

One of the bright new generation of right of centre thinkers, Andrews has got a high media profile and deservedly so. Dry as dust on economics, she’s rather more liberal on social and foreign policy issues. An interesting mix.

96. (NEW) Ryan Shorthouse

Director, Bright Blue

A graduate of the Centre for Policy Studies, Shorthouse has given Bright Blue a much higher profile in Tory circles and is a star of the future. He has a unique ability to explain complicated economic policies in simple terms.

97. (-) Julia Hartley-Brewer

Columnist and broadcaster

A prolific columnist and broadcaster, Hartley-Brewer has really raised her profile since her departure from LBC. She’s unpredictable, feisty and intelligent and some reckon she’d make a great MP. She’s recently taken over the morning slot on the new talkRadio.

98. (NEW) Simon Burton

Special Advisor to the Chief Whip

By no means well know, Burton has one of the most important special advisor jobs in government, especially given the inexperience of his boss.

99. (-1) Andrew Kennedy

Conservative Party Agent

Acts as agent to a group of constituencies in West Kent and writes a brilliant blog (Voting and Boating) on his life and work. Last year we wrote: “One of the party’s best campaigners, it’s likely CCHQ will try to bring him in house before too long, if only to silence his very caustic blog!” Rather surprisingly, that hasn’t happened yet!

100. (NEW) John Hayes

Minister of State, Department of Transport

Everyone had assumed that Hayes had served his time and would be ousted in May’s reshuffle, but it wasn’t to be. There is huge speculation as to the photos he must have in his possession. He returns to the department from where it is rumoured the Permanent Secretary demanded he be moved some years ago.

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