Congratulations to Kemi Badenoch, the new MP for Saffron Walden, who triumphed in the race to be named ‘Conservative to Watch’ in this year’s ConservativeHome awards, fighting off strong competition to triumph on 30.7 per cent of the vote. She impressed the Saffron Walden association during the General Election with what I’m told was a truly barnstorming selection speech, and went on to win plaudits for her maiden speech in the Commons and her performance at Conservative Party Conference.
It’s fair to say that not all of the 978 Conservative Party member respondents to this question quite got the hint from our shortlist of MPs drawn from the 2015 and 2017 generations that this is an award for new and rising stars in the Party. That’s why the write-in “Other” category included quite a lot of nominations for some parliamentarians who, while no doubt much-watched, aren’t really eligible for the category (the very much established names of Liam Fox, Gavin Williamson, John Redwood, Sir Edward Leigh and, inevitably, Jacob Rees-Mogg all featured).
Honourable mentions should go, however, to Johnny Mercer and James Cleverly, both relatively new MPs, and therefore eligible entrants for ‘Conservative to Watch’, who did well among the write-ins having not quite made the official shortlist.