James O'Brien is Leading Britain's Conversation.
6 October 2015, 12:25
In the final part of his series looking at the most influential political figures in Britain, Iain Dale gives his verdict on the Top 100 people on the Right in 2015.
"Each year I convene three panels to compile lists of the Top 50 Liberal Democrats, the Top 100 People on the Left and the Top 100 People on the Right. Each list is published to coincide with the three party conferences. Today, it's time to look at the Right."
Prime Minister. Having won an unexpected majority at the election, David Cameron takes over the top place in this list once again, having lost it to both Nigel Farage and George Osborne in recent years. He now has two to three years to create a lasting political legacy. Will he be the prime minister who leads us out of the EU, or seals our place at the heart of it?
Chancellor of the Exchequer. Like Lynton Crosby, George Osborne is at the height of his powers. His image has been transformed. The economy is on the up. He's effectively running the government's domestic policy. He's also taken over the mantle of favourite to succeed David Cameron, a dangeous position to hold as he well knows.
General Election Campaign Director. Tim Ross's forthcoming book Why The Tories Won ays bare the contribution Lynton Crosby made to the Tory victory in May. Revered as a God-like figure in CCHQ, Crosby is at the peak of his powers and the next Tory leader will prostrate themselves in front of him, begging him to return to run the campaign in 2020, and rightly so.
Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party. It's been a funny old year for Nigel Farage. Nearly 4 million votes, yet only one MP to show for it. The disaster of his post election non resignation is still a millstone around his neck and he shows little sign of being able to unify his warring forces.
Home Secretary. Now the longest serving Home Secretary for decades, it was in some ways a shame that Theresa May wasn't made Foreign Secretary in the post election reshuffle, giving her more experience of issues she'd need to be on top of if she succeeds David Cameron. Her weakness is the lack of identifiable 'Mayites' on the backbenches. She's got a couple of years to work on that.
Secretary of State for Health. On election night, when they thought the Tories would lose, there was a conversation around the Cameron dining table in which he and his colleagues identified Jeremy Hunt as Cameron's successor. If he discovers a harder political edge, it could still happen. The outsider often wins in the end.
Wife of the Prime Minister. Evidence grows by the month of the quiet, behind the scenes influence Samantha Cameron has on her husband. She knows her own mind and she'd not be human if she didn't use every opportunity to get her husband to do what in her mind is the "right thing", especially on humanitarian intervention in the Syrian crisis.
Secretary State for Business, Innovation & Skills. A smooth operator, Javid is being talked about as one of the leading contenders to take over from David Cameron. He's in a job which will allow him to shine, and his response to the Redcar steel crisis has been impressive. We now need to see more of his personality and personal narrative.
Leader, Scottish Conservatives. Ruth Davidson has had a stonking year in charge of the Scottish Conservatives. They may only have one MP but she expects to increase the number of MSPs in the Scottish elections next May. If she were in Westminster she'd be a serious candidate to lead the UK party.
Mayor of London. Not the best of years for the newly elected MP for Uxbridge, but no one should write him off. Still the darling of rank and file Tories, he's got time to rebuild his reputation and bounce back, but his main challenge is to convince his fellow MPs that he should be in the final two in a leadership contest.