Boris is the biggest Brexiteer according to Conservative party members

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
October 05, 2017, 8:39 AM GMT+0

YouGov polling of Conservative party members sees which ministers they think are on board with Brexit

Following the Conservatives’ performance at the recent general election Theresa May now lives under the shadow of a leadership challenge. With two thirds (66%) of Conservative party members voting to leave the European Union, any future leader’s attitude towards Brexit is important.

New YouGov research among Tory members shows that the majority (53%) believe that Theresa May wants Britain to leave the EU,while a third (35%) believe the Prime Minister still backs the outcome she campaigned for during the referendum. One in eight (12%) don't know whether she wants to remain or leave. Mrs May's perceived conversion to Brexit is vital as it might be one of the few things currently fending off a leadership challenge.

Boris Johnson, who would beat other likely contenders for the Conservative crown according to the same poll, is the MP that Tory members are most likely to think wants Britain to leave the EU (89%). While 6% believe he is a secret Remainer, only 5% of members are unsure of the Foreign Secretary’s preference.

Of the 14 Conservative politicians YouGov listed, six supported the campaign to Leave the EU, and Conservative members are overwhelmingly convinced of these MPs' desire to see Brexit carried out. After Boris, 82% of Tory members believe Brexit Secretary David Davis wants Britain out of the EU, followed by Michael Gove (81%), Jacob Rees-Mogg (75%), and Liam Fox (71%). The majority (61%) also think that Andrea Leadsom, the former leadership contender, wants Britain to get out of the EU.

However, when it comes to those MPs that backed Remain, party members are far less sure of their positions.

Large proportions of Conservative party members (40-48%) are unclear on whether Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Education Secretary Justine Greening and Cabinet Office minister Damian Green (widely seen as Theresa May’s de facto deputy) want Britain to remain or leave.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd are the only two cabinet ministers whom a plurality of Tory members think want Britain to stay in the EU, on 61% and 48% respectively.

Four in ten party members believe the Queen wants Britain to leave the EU

During the referendum campaign The Sun, and afterwards the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, claimed that sources had told them that the Queen backed Brexit. While the Sun splashed the controversial claim on its front page, the article later ruled to be misleading by the press regulator.

The truth of the Queen’s allegiance may never be known, but more than a year after the referendum we find that Conservative party members are far more likely to believe the monarch wants Britain to get out of the EU (40%) than stay (12%). In part this may be because the Tory membership is skewed towards Leave supporters; while the majority of Leave-voting Tory members think the Queen is a Brexiteer (52%), Remain-voting members are actually more likely to think she wants Britain to stay in the EU by 24% vs 15%.

This belief among respondents that the Queen is more likely to have supported whichever side of the EU referendum that they themselves did is also reflected in an identical survey YouGov conducted of the public as a whole.

Photo: Getty

See the Conservative members results here, and the general public results here

The results from the wider survey of Conservative party members can be found here