Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. The Staggers
2 May 2017updated 01 Aug 2021 7:52am

Why some Tory MPs don’t want Theresa May to win a bigger majority

The fear of career Brexiteers.

By Anoosh Chakelian

Theresa May’s general election message – if she has one at all – is that voting for her will give her greater negotiating power in Europe. As my colleague Stephen points out, the problem with this is that it isn’t true. A bigger majority for the Conservatives may help them domestically, but it won’t change how EU leaders approach Brexit negotiations.

In fact, the opposite could be true. The Prime Minister may have even less leverage over our Brexit deal if there are more Tory MPs in the Commons. A fear among more Remain-minded Tories is that the new influx of Conservative MPs following the snap election could drag the PM further towards a hard Brexit. Particularly once they lose the power a small majority gives them to rebel constructively.

The concern is that the newbies will be more wedded to a hard Brexit than the current parliamentary party – either because they have been selected as candidates for their hardcore views, or because they have their eyes on promotions and preferment in May’s government and believe hard euroscepticism is the way to her heart. We have already seen that May feels the need to tack herself to the more extreme end of euroscepticism in her party.

“It all depends on what kind of Conservatives she got returned,” says one senior Tory MP who campaigned for Remain, reflecting on the prospect of an increased Tory majority. “What sort of Conservatives [will be elected]?” They tell me that, “there’s a certain wide range of opinion at the moment among Conservatives as to what to do” about Brexit – a broad church that could be overridden by a new influx of eurosceptic ultras, or career Brexiteers.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Content from our partners
The cost-of-living crisis is hitting small businesses – Liz Truss must act
How industry is key for net zero
How to ensure net zero brings good growth and green jobs