Top Tory named favourite to replace Sunak as party leader in new poll

James Cleverly says Hamas have made life for Palestinian people much worse

Tory members have indicated they have a new favourite Cabinet Minister, giving a boost to their chances of a leadership run after Rishi Sunak.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has shot to the top of the monthly rankings, up a whopping 18 points on last month.

His prominent role in responding to the war in Israel, and his ongoing support for Ukraine, are no doubt largely behind his new place at the top of the poll.

Mr Cleverly is a competent and charismatic media performer, also winning plaudits for slapping down the SNP in their attempts to operate a separate foreign policy to the UK Government despite not having the devolved powers to do so.

The Conservative Home website describes Mr Cleverly as a great political survivor, serving prominent roles in both Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak’s governments, while avoiding being typecast by any one Tory faction.

READ MORE: Cleverly flies in to show solidarity with Israel – then has to shelter

It said in a blog post: “In other words, the genial Cleverly is a survivor – and a long-time presence near the top of our table, where his support for engagement with China did him little harm.

“This result may stir interest in the Tory leadership betting markets where, in the event of a future contest, the Foreign Secretary would be a plausible “Stop X” candidate – that X being Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Suella Braverman or whoever.”

Kemi Badenoch is also up slightly, and solid in second place among Tory members.

Penny Mordaunt is third on 45.8 points, but only slightly ahead of Johnny Mercer and Suella Braverman.

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Rishi Sunak on the other hand has plummeted a huge 19 points in one month, signifying Tory members’ dissatisfaction with the Government.

Deputy PM Oliver Dowden scrapes through into net positive satisfaction, on 0.7.

Six Cabinet Members, however, are net-unpopular even with Conservative Party members including Transport Secretary Mark Harper, immigration minister Robert Jenrick, international development minister Andrew Mitchell, and party chairman Greg Hands.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt came second bottom in the poll, on -23; only beaten by environment secretary Therese Coffey on -27.2.

Mr Cleverly previously slapped down claims he is planning on standing down at the next General Election, describing claims as “nonsense”.

The Telegraph claimed he wanted to spend more time with his wife, who is recovering from cancer, and his children.

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