The Top 100 Most Influential Conservatives of 2019

30 September 2019, 08:59

Three of the most influential Tories in this week's list
Three of the most influential Tories in this week's list. Picture: PA

Who are the most influential Conservatives in the UK? Iain Dale and a panel of experts compiled a list of the top 100.

Each year for the last twelve years, in the run-up to Conservative conferences I have convened panels to compile a list of the most influential Conservatives in the country.

To be included you have to self identify as a Conservative. So anyone associated with UKIP, the Brexit Party for the alt-Right is no longer eligible for inclusion. I've also decided to include journalists and commentators who are clearly Conservative supporters, but I've not included broadcasters and journalists like Nick Ferrari, Julia Hartley-Brewer or Peter Hitchens as, although they're undoubtedly on the right, they don't self identify as Conservative Party supporters. 

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

In all, there are 38 new entries in the whole list, eight more than in 2018, five more than 2016 record of 33. This is not surprising given there's a new party leader. Out go Gavin Barwell and Robbie Gibb (last year's 3 and 4), Liam Fox, James Brokenshire, Greg Clark, Chris Grayling, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston Nick Boles, Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd, among others. 

Dominic Cummings is the highest new entry at 2, with Sir Eddie Lister, Carrie Symonds, Priti Patel and Ben Elliot all entering the list in the top ten. 

Disappointingly, the number of the women in this year’s list has decreased from 30 to 15, with only  the highest ever. However, on the bright side 5 make the top 20, up from 3 last year. There are 7 members of an ethnic minority in the list, up one from 2018.

The highest climber is Liz Truss who climbs 63 places, while Penny Mordaunt has experienced the biggest fall - 70 places

Last year, I wrote that "this is very much a steady as she goes list, with few dramatic rises or falls. We suspect that next year's list may be altogether different..." That turned out to be a very accurate prediction. 

When compiling a list like this, it's done in the full knowledge that most people will disagree with every single ranking. Some will say that Dominic Cummings should top the list, and others will say he shouldn't even be in it at all. Some will think Sajid Javid, as Chancellor, should be a lot higher, or that as a leadership contender Matt Hancock should be in the top ten. We couldn't include all the 'Gaukeward squad', so Amber Rudd misses out being in the list at all, whereas Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve feature in the top 40 - and yes, they are still Conservatives. You could argue that Rory Stewart should be higher, given his showing in the leadership contest, but does being every Guardianista's favourite Tory mean he is a Conservative Influencer?

Brandon Lewis falls a little in this list and some will argue that fall should be more dramatic, but he survived the reshuffle cull in a way that many of his contemporaries didn't and is increasingly trusted by Number Ten as a safe pair of hands. 

And where to put Jeremy Hunt? We decided he deserved to stay in the top 20, given that if the Prime Minister was to fall on his sword, he would again be a leading contender.

Some names, like Jonathan Hill, will be surprise inclusions to some, but they are invariably included because we know they carry influence with Boris Johnson and he regularly consults them. David Lidington is a further example.

We've included a few new influencers in the commentariat like Tom Harwood and Darren Grimes, who are both articulate exponents of the case for Brexit in a way that most of their political counterparts fail to match.

And yes, there will be loads of people that we could and maybe should have included, but didn't. Still, at least we've given you something to talk about!

1. (+14) Boris Johnson MP

Prime Minister

2. (NEW) Dominic Cummings

Director of Strategy, No 10 Downing Street

3. (+4) Michael Gove MP

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

4. (+12) Dominic Raab MP

Foreign Secretary

5. (RE-ENTRY) Sir Eddie Lister

Chief of Staff, No 10 Downing Street

6. (NEW) David Frost

Prime Minister’s chief Brexit adviser

7. (+3) Sajid Javid MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer

8. (+39) Priti Patel MP

Home Secretary

9. (+2) Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

Leader of the House of Commons

10. (NEW) Carrie Symonds

Prime Minister’s partner

11. (NEW) Ben Elliot

Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party

12. (NEW) Danny Kruger

Political Secretary, No 10 Downing Street

13. (NEW) Munira Mirza

Director, Number 10 Policy Unit

14. (+30) Andrea Leadsom MP

Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

15. (-6) Jeremy Hunt MP

Former Foreign Secretary

16. (+63) Liz Truss MP

Secretary of State for International Trade

17. (-8) Ruth Davidson MSP

Outgoing Leader, Scottish Conservatives

18. (NEW) Ben Wallace MP

Secretary of State for Defence

19. (-7) Brandon Lewis MP

Security Minister

20. (RE-ENTRY) Oliver Letwin MP

Former temporary Prime Minister

21. (-1) Gavin Williamson MP

Secretary of State for Education

22. (+28) James Cleverly MP

Co-chairman of the Conservative Party

23. (-5) Matthew Hancock MP

Secretary of State for Health

24. (+37) Nicky Morgan MP

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

25. (NEW) Andrew Griffith

Director of Business Relations, No 10 Downing Street

26. (+8) Fraser Nelson

Editor, The Spectator

27. (NEW) Geoffrey Cox MP

Attorney General

28. (NEW) Lee Cain

Director of Communications, No 10 Downing Street

29. (-7) Michael Ashcroft

Businessman & Philanthropist

30. (NEW) Robert Buckland MP

Secretary of State for Justice & Lord Chancellor

31. (-) Paul Goodman


32. (+15) Paul Staines

Editor, Guido Fawkes

33. (NEW) Nikki Da Costa

Director of Parliamentary Affairs, No 10 Downing Street

34. (-17) David Davis MP

Former Brexit Secretary

35. (RE-ENTRY) Kenneth Clarke MP

Father of the House

36. (+3) Natalie Evans

Leader of the House of Lords

37. (+49) Camilla Tominey

Associate Editor, Daily Telegraph

38. (-2) Shanker Singham

Director, International Trade & Competition Unit, IEA

39. (RE-ENTRY) Dominic Grieve MP

Former Attorney General

40. (-5) George Osborne

Editor, London Evening Standard

41. (-3) Mark Littlewood

Director, IEA

42. (-) Tom Tugendhat MP

Chairman, Foreign Affairs Select Committee

43. (+16) James Forsyth

Political Editor, The Spectator

44. (-1) Daniel Finkelstein

Conservative Peer & Times columnist

45. (-18) Steve Baker MP

Conservative MP for Wycombe & Chairman of the ERG

46. (NEW) Rory Stewart MP

Former International Development Secretary

47. (NEW) Mark Spencer MP

Chief Whip

48. (NEW) Rishi Sunak MP

Chief Secretary to the Treasury

49. (+13) Sheridan Westlake

Special Advisor, 10 Downing Street

50. (+5) Douglas Murray

Author & Associate Editor, The Spectator

51. (-) Esther McVey MP

Housing Minister

52. (-8) Daniel Hannan MEP

Conservative MEP for South East England

53. (-7) Christian May

Editor, City AM

54. (+13) Dean Godson

Director, Policy Exchange

55. (-53) David Lidington MP

Former Cabinet Office Minister

56. (-50) Sir Graham Brady MP

Chairman, 1922 Committee

57. (+6) Iain Duncan Smith MP

Former Conservative Party leader

58. (+15) Mark Wallace

Deputy Editor,

59. (+9) Isabel Hardman

Associate Editor, The Spectator

60. (-6) Matthew Parris

Times columnist

61. (-1) Charles Moore

Columnist, Daily Telegraph & The Spectator

62. (NEW) Jake Berry MP

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse

63. (-38) David Gauke MP

Former Secretary of State for Justice

64. (-23) Robert Halfon MP

Chairman, Education Select Committee

65. (NEW) Steve Barclay MP

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

66. (+6) Peter Oborne

Columnist, Daily Mail

67. (+2) Simon Heffer

Historian & Daily Telegraph columnist

68. (+3) Sir John Major

Former Prime Minister

69. (+7) David Cameron

Former Prime Minister

70. (-69) Theresa May

Former Prime Minister

71. (NEW) Katy Balls

Political Correspondent, The Spectator

72. (NEW) Oliver Dowden

Minister for the Cabinet Office

73. (NEW) Henry Newman

Special Adviser to Michael Gove

74. (+1) Andy Street

Mayor of the West Midlands

75. (+7) Tim Montgomerie

Special Adviser on social justice, Number 10

76. (NEW) Sir Roger Scruton

Conservative philosopher

77. (-58) Julian Smith

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

78. (+2) James Delingpole

Presenter, The Delingpod

79. (-14) Nick Timothy

Columnist, Daily Telegraph

80. (+1) Jonathan Isaby


81. (+7) Kate Andrews

Associate Director, IEA

82. (NEW) Rob Oxley

Press Secretary, No 10 Downing Street

83. (-70) Penny Mordaunt

Former Defence Secretary

84. (+5) Andrew Sharpe

Chairman, National Conservative Convention

85. (RE-ENTRY) Nadhim Zahawi

Minister, Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

86. (RE-ENTRY) Theresa Villiers

Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

87. (+5) Robert Colvile

Director, Centre for Policy Studies

88. (NEW) Alok Sharma

Secretary of State for International Development

89. (-2) Iain Martin

Times columnist and editor, Reaction

90. (-37) William Hague

Former leader of the Conservative Party

91. (NEW) Conor Burns

Minister of State, Department of International Trade

92. (NEW) Jonathan Hill

Former European Commissioner and Conservative Peer

93. (NEW) Robert Jenrick

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government

94. (NEW) Therese Coffey

Secretary of State of Work & Pensions

95. (NEW) Darren Grimes

Digital manager, IEA

96. (NEW) Tom Harwood

Reporter, Guido Fawkes

97. (NEW) Nigel Adams

Minister of State, DDCMS

98. (RE-ENTRY) Zac Goldsmith

Minister of State, DEFRA

99. (NEW) Kwasi Kwarteng

Minister of State, BEIS

100. (NEW) Ben Houchen

Mayor of the Tees Valley