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All week, different estimates have been flying back and forth of the scale of opposition to the Prime Minister’s proposed Brexit deal. As is always the case, the pressure of bigger-is-better pushes the numbers ever higher, and encourages those doing the calculating to become ever more relaxed about their criteria.

As Paul warned yesterday, such endless inflation is also convenient for Downing Street, in that it skews the question of expectation management: ‘Ponder the possible consequences of an expectation that the Government will lose the meaningful vote by 200…and it actually losing it by, say, 50.  Disaster would suddenly be spun as triumph.’

In order to prioritise accuracy above excitability, ConservativeHome has been more, well, conservative when calculating our own list.

The tests we have applied are somewhat stricter. Simply supporting Stand Up 4 Brexit, or criticising Chequers, or even writing a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister, is not in itself enough to be taken as proof of opposition to the deal. Some very pro-Brexit and very anti-Chequers MPs will likely vote with the Government when the ‘meaningful vote’ comes.

For our estimate, we have identified three categories of MP.

The first contains those who oppose the deal. They have said or written, publicly, that they will vote against it, or at minimum that they will not support it. We count 71 MPs in this group.

The second contains those who probably oppose the deal. They are on record opposing it to some degree, but mostly with an attendant caveat which implies they might perhaps be won round. Some have committed to oppose the deal “as it stands” or “in its current form”, or specified an amendment that would assuage their concerns. Also included are several MPs whose response to the deal has been to say they want a second referendum as a direct and preferable alternative, but not unambiguously commit themselves to opposing it. We count 32 MPs in this group.

The third contains those who maybe oppose the deal. These are MPs who have either specified concerns and said they are awaiting answers, or whose inclination appears to be to want to follow the whip but describe it as some variation of “difficult to support”. We count a further 9 MPs in this group.

All the names in each group are listed at the foot of this post.

As those definitions imply, this is an art more than a science. The variation in MPs’ turns of phrase alone makes it tricky to apply hard and fast rules – some prefer the courtly language of “I cannot support this” when they mean “I hate it with a passion and would vote against it a thousand times given the chance”, while others are freely vituperative in their condemnation but less courageous in the voting lobbies.

Some MPs may therefore pop up after this list is published to clarify their precise position as firmer or softer than we have been able to judge from their public statements; I particularly anticipate several of those listed in the grey zone of “probably oppose” due to vague phrasing might well wish to identify themselves as certain opponents.

Indeed, we encourage clarifications of any sort – more information is always a useful thing.

Others who are thus far undecided may yet decide to come out as opponents of the deal, while some who are currently opposed might be won round by the Government’s arguments, or by amendments that could yet be conceded.

In other words, this list will change between now and the vote. Indeed, I would be amazed if it does not. But at this point it is our best estimate.

Oppose the deal (71 MPs)

  • Lucy Allan
  • Heidi Allen
  • Sir David Amess
  • Steve Baker
  • Crispin Blunt
  • Peter Bone
  • Ben Bradley
  • Suella Braverman
  • Andrew Bridgen
  • Conor Burns
  • Sir William Cash
  • Maria Caulfield
  • Rehman Chishti
  • Sir Christopher Chope
  • Simon Clarke
  • Damian Collins
  • Tracey Crouch
  • Philip Davies
  • David Davis
  • Nadine Dorries
  • Steve Double
  • Richard Drax
  • James Duddridge
  • Iain Duncan Smith
  • Nigel Evans
  • Michael Fabricant
  • Mark Francois
  • Marcus Fysh
  • Zac Goldsmith
  • James Gray
  • Chris Green
  • Dominic Grieve
  • Sam Gyimah
  • Mark Harper
  • Philip Hollobone
  • Adam Holloway
  • Ranil Jayawardena
  • Sir Bernard Jenkin
  • Andrea Jenkyns
  • Boris Johnson
  • Jo Johnson
  • David Jones
  • John Lamont
  • Andrew Lewer
  • Julian Lewis
  • Julia Lopez
  • Tim Loughton
  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Esther McVey
  • Johnny Mercer
  • Anne-Marie Morris
  • Sheryll Murray
  • Priti Patel
  • Owen Paterson
  • Mark Pritchard
  • Dominic Raab
  • John Redwood
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • Laurence Robertson
  • Andrew Rosindell
  • Lee Rowley
  • Henry Smith
  • Sir Desmond Swayne
  • Ross Thomson
  • Michael Tomlinson
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan
  • Shailesh Vara
  • Martin Vickers
  • Theresa Villiers

Will probably vote against the deal (32 MPs)

  • John Baron
  • Guto Bebb
  • David Evennett
  • Michael Fallon
  • George Freeman
  • Justine Greening
  • Rob Halfon
  • Trudy Harrison
  • Sir John Hayes
  • Gordon Henderson
  • Pauline Latham
  • Sir Edward Leigh
  • Sir Greg Knight
  • Anne Main
  • Scott Mann
  • Stephen McPartland
  • Nigel Mills
  • Damien Moore
  • Matthew Offord
  • Neil Parish
  • Sir Mike Penning
  • Douglas Ross
  • Royston Smith
  • Anna Soubry
  • Bob Stewart
  • Sir Robert Syms
  • Derek Thomas
  • Craig Tracey
  • Giles Watling
  • John Whittingdale
  • Sarah Wollaston
  • William Wragg

Will perhaps vote against the deal (9 MPs)

  • Robert Courts
  • Alister Jack
  • John Lamont
  • Phillip Lee
  • Stephen Metcalfe
  • Andrew Mitchell
  • Grant Shapps
  • Hugo Swire
  • Mike Wood

418 comments for: The number of Tory MPs who oppose the deal stands at 71. Lamont, Freeman are the latest to say they won’t back it.

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