Here are the full results from our Christmas survey:
- Priti Patel: 20 per cent.
- Douglas Carswell: 18 per cent.
- Robert Halfon: 15 per cent.
- Dominic Raab: 15 per cent.
- Nicky Morgan: 11 per cent.
Patel’s victory is a welcome one for ConservativeHome, not least because you’ll be able to watch her here, so to speak, in her column for the site. Indeed, if you want a quick and clear sense of the MP for Witham’s politics, you could do worse than flick through some of the recent headlines of those columns: “Why Conservatives must end the free movement of EU peoples as we know it”; “We must rediscover Thatcher’s understanding of small business”; “Is it time to apply the Bribery Act to Labour’s relationship with the unions?”; and so on. Her brand of punchy, forthright, Eurosceptic politics is surely going to gain her more prominence in the run-up to the next election, whether she’s ordained by the party leadership or not. No doubt that’s why party members selected her for this award.
As for the other names, it’s worth saying that Raab (a co-author of Britannia Unchained with Patel and others) and Halfon received exactly the same percentage of the vote – 15.2 per cent – and so are separated by that finest of measures: alphabetically, by their surnames. Carswell will have finished second for a number of reasons, although particular attention should be drawn to his work on iDemocracy. Similarly, we should note the sharp-edge that Morgan has brought to her role as Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
We also had an “Other” category by which voters could suggest other Conservatives to Watch, after the five MPs above were initially nominated by ConservativeHome readers. That category received 20.9 per cent of the vote by itself, although dozens of names were bracketed underneath it. The ones that cropped up most frequently were Zac Goldsmith and Andrea Leadsom – but neither approached Morgan’s 11 per cent.