Steerpike Steerpike

Next Tory chairman: runners and riders


One man’s loss is another man’s gain and few know that maxim better than Conservative MPs. Members of the parliamentary party have already quietly begun discussing who will replace Nadhim Zahawi as their Tory chairman. And while no appointment is expected today, some names are already doing the rounds as to which MP is likely to get an overdue promotion or a recall from the wilderness. Below is a list of Steerpike’s runners and riders, from old warriors and young pretenders to the dispossessed and the never-possessed…

Greg Hands – A Sunak ally well-liked among London Tories. Has served four of the last five Prime Ministers and is never afraid to take the fight to Sadiq Khan’s Labour. If he can be persuaded to part his familiar berth at Trade, where he has served on and off for six years.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan – Served in cabinet for Trade and Transport under Johnson and Truss before being demoted to Minister of State at the Foreign Office under Sunak. Has kept her head down for the past three months and would signal Sunak’s determination to put old loyalties aside.

Andrew Bowie – A junior Trade minister and Sunak ally who backed him in both leadership campaigns last year. The West Aberdeenshire MP would be the first Scottish Tory to serve as party chair since 2005. But with a majority of just 843, could he really focus on campaigns elsewhere?

Matt Vickers – He served as Rishi Sunak’s election agent for the 2015 and 2017 campaigns and has sat for the decidedly Red Wall seat of Stockton South since 2019. Vickers was named Deputy Chairman of the party in July and would offer some much-need continuity for the CCHQ machine.

Stuart Andrew – A Welshman who sits for a West Yorkshire seat. Backed Sunak both times last year and spent two-and-a-half years in the Whips’ Office under Johnson.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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