Tory leadership candidates’ voting records - from Brexit to taxation

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·9-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The Tory leadership race is hotting up, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss throwing her hat in the ring to replace Boris Johnson today.

Many of the 11 leadership hopefuls looking to become the Tory party leader have set out competing tax plans as a core element of their proposals.

Mr Johnson, on the other hand, has said that he won’t be endorsing anyone as his successor, as he prefers to leave candidates to “get on with it”.

The 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs which organises Conservative leadership contests will meet on Monday to decide the timetable and rules of the race.

The two-stage process will see Tory MPs whittle down the candidates to two, before members finally decide the winner.

Here are the voting histories of those in the leadership race...

Tom Tugendhat - backbencher

Tom Tugendhat has vowed to stand by the Government’s proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol (PA) (PA Wire)
Tom Tugendhat has vowed to stand by the Government’s proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol (PA) (PA Wire)

While he doesn’t spend much time in the limelight, Mr Tugendhat is a leading Conservative.

The Westminster-born MP for Tonbridge and Malling serves as chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, from where he leads scrutiny of the Government’s foreign policy.

Brexit

He has a voting record that fits in with the rest of his party, having consistently backed Government funding reductions, but he differs in one key area; Brexit.

Mr Tugendhat backed calls for a referendum on EU membership, a core promise of David Cameron’s Government, and voted against further integration with the bloc.

But when the vote eventually came around in 2016, he was among a clutch of Conservative MPs who voted against Brexit.

He did not try to stop Theresa May from delivering the referendum result further down the line and supported her efforts to create a withdrawal agreement.

And he has since continued down this path, having recently disagreed with his colleague Tobias Ellwood about returning to the Single Market.

Environmental issues

Mr Tugendhat has consistently voted against measures to curtail climate change, as well as a greater regulation of hydraulic fracking.

Health and social issues

Mr Tygendhat has consistently voted for allowing marriage between two people of the same sex, and for equal gay rights.

Jeremy Hunt - former Health Secretary

Jeremy Hunt’s strong support for lockdown measures will not have pleased all Tory MPs (PA) (PA Wire)
Jeremy Hunt’s strong support for lockdown measures will not have pleased all Tory MPs (PA) (PA Wire)

Brexit

Mr Hunt generally voted for the UK to remain in the EU during the referendum in 2016. He then suggested a second referendum depending on the results of the exit deal, backing one in which the UK remained in the Single Market.

In 2017, he changed his mind, citing the “arrogance of the EU Commission” in responding to Brexit negotiations.

Home affairs

Hunt has reportedly almost consistently voted for stronger enforcement of immigration laws, with six votes for, and three absences between 2015 and 2020.

He also voted for mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities.

Health and social issues

Mr Hunt was the longest-serving health secretary in NHS history after his appointment in 2012. He has almost always voted for equal gay rights, as well as for same-sex marriage.

However, he generally voted against laws to promote equality and human rights, of which he’s voted five times, and been absent 12 times.

Business and the Economy

Between 2010 to 2016, Mr Hunt generally voted for reducing the rate of corporation tax, and voted more times against introducing measures to reduce tax avoidance.

He has almost always voted against slowing the rise in rail fares, instead votiing to increase the rate of VAT.

Welfare and Benefits

Between 2010 and 2018, Jeremy Hunt voted for a reduction of spending on welfare benefits, as well as on housing benefits for tenants deemed to have excessive bedrooms.

He generally voted against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed, when votes were held in parliament for this cause between 2011 and 2014.

Education and the Environment

Between 2005 and 2020, Mr Hunt generally voted against measures to prevent climate change.

Penny Mordaunt - Trade minister

Penny Mordaunt was Mr Wallace’s predecessor as defence secretary before being sacked by Mr Johnson when he became PM (PA) (PA Wire)
Penny Mordaunt was Mr Wallace’s predecessor as defence secretary before being sacked by Mr Johnson when he became PM (PA) (PA Wire)

Brexit

On the European Union, Ms Mordaunt has generally voted against further integration with the bloc.

In 2015, she voted against adopting an EU decision on the relocation of migrants to other states.

She abstained on a government vote in June 2016 about whether the UK should stay in the EU or not, a diplomatic move after former Prime Minister David Cameron publicly campaigned for the UK to remain.

She said in a 2018 speech about Brexit: “We must honour the result of the referendum. The public decided, and we must implement their views.”

Taxation

In 2010, Ms Mordaunt voted in favour of raising the UK’s university tuition fee level to £9,000 per year, a controversial move that saw widespread student protests.

On taxes, she has consistently voted in favour of raising the income tax threshold, effectively a vote in favour of giving workers a pay rise.

Social issues

Ms Mordaunt’s voting record on social issues has generally been liberal, as she has voted in favour of equal gay rights, and for allowing same-sex marriage.

She drew criticism from right-wingers while serving as equalities minister in 2018, Ms Mordaunt said “trans women are women and trans men are men” and pledged to do more so that “LGBT people can thrive in the UK”.

Her record on key issues such as tax and Brexit are one of the reasons the Minister of State for Trade has built a strong reputation among Conservatives.

Sajid Javid - former Health Secretary

Sajid Javid (Beresford Hodge/PA) (PA Wire)
Sajid Javid (Beresford Hodge/PA) (PA Wire)

Home Affairs

Sajid Javid has consistently voted in favour of stronger enforcement of immigration laws, as well as for the introduction of elected Police and Crime commissioners.

Moreover, he’s generally voted for a stricter asylum system, mass surveillance as well as the mass retention of information about communications.

Welfare and Benefits

Javid has consistently voted against raising welfare benefits, as well as for paying higher benefits to those in financial need, or those unable to work due to illness or disability.

Environmental Issues

Javid has generally voted against measures to curtail climate change.

Nadhim Zahawi - Chancellor

Nadhim Zahawi (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
Nadhim Zahawi (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

Home affairs

Mr Zahawi has constantly voted for stronger enforcement of immigration rules, as well as a stricter asylum system.

Environmental Issues

Mr Zahawi has generally voted against measures to prevent climate change, as well as for higher taxes for plane tickets.

Welfare and Benefits

The chancellor has voted against raising welfare benefits in line with prices, as well as for reducing housing benefits for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms. He also voted against paying higher benefits to those who are unable to work due to illness or disability.

Taxation and Employment

Mr Zahawi has always voted for increasing the rate of VAT, as well as for a higher tax on alcoholic drinks.

Social issues

The chancellor has generally voted for allowing marriage between two people of the same sex, and almost always for equal gay rights.

Rishi Sunak - former Chancellor

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak so far has the most MP nominations of any of the Tory leadership candidates (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak so far has the most MP nominations of any of the Tory leadership candidates (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

Brexit

A staunch Brexiteer, Mr Sunak has almost always voted for pro-Brexit policies in parliament, according to theyworkforyou.co.uk.

Since 2015, Mr Sunak has generally voted against more EU integration and has almost always voted against Britain’s membership of the bloc, as well as voting against the right to remain for EU nationals.

He has also said he voted to leave in the 2016 EU referendum.

Taxation

Despite raising taxes for working people not long before he left the cabinet, Mr Sunak has consistently voted for reducing the rate of taxation on corporations, as well as consistently voting against higher taxes on banks.

Social, welfare and benefits

Mr Sunak has consistently voted against higher benefits for those with prolonged illness or disability.

The former Chancellor has never voted on gay rights or on allowing marriages between same-sex couples, having abstained from these votes in 2019.

Liz Truss- Foreign Secretary

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Brexit

Ms Truss is known for her hard-line stance against the EU, helping to spark bust-ups with the bloc’s representatives.

She once served as Trade Secretary and was lauded for setting up trade agreements with non-European nations.

As Foreign Secretary, she has laid the groundwork for terminating UK participation in the Northern Ireland Protocol via legislation.

In 2016 she was among several prominent Conservative Remain campaigners who advocated for continued partnership with the bloc.

Environmental issues

Ms Truss has consistently voted for selling England’s state owned forests, as well as against financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation methods.

She almost always voted against measures to prevent climate change, according to theyworkforyou.com data.

Welfare, benefits and social issues

She has consistently voted for welfare spending reductions, and she has also voted for the “bedroom tax”, which meant reducing housing benefits for people living in social housing deemed to have excess bedrooms.

Suella Braverman - Attorney General

Suella Braverman has joined other contenders in pledging tax cuts (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Suella Braverman has joined other contenders in pledging tax cuts (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Environmental issues

The Attorney General has voted for greater regulation of hydraulic fracking, but has always voted against measures to prevent climate change, according to theyworkforyou.com.

Welfare, benefits and social issues

She has consistently voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits as well as against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability.

Kemi Badenoch - former equalities minister

Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has put herself forward as a candidate to become the new prime minister, promising ‘limited government’ and ‘a focus on the essentials’ (House of Commons/PA) (PA Archive)
Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has put herself forward as a candidate to become the new prime minister, promising ‘limited government’ and ‘a focus on the essentials’ (House of Commons/PA) (PA Archive)

Constitutional reform

Ms Badenoch generally voted against transferring more powers to the Scottish Parliament, as well as consistently voting to reduce central government funding for local government.

Environmental issues

Ms Badenoch voted against financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation methods, as well as consistently voting against measures to prevent climate change, according to theyworkforyou.com.

Welfare, benefits and social issues

The former equalities minister has never voted on gay rights, but has voted against laws to promote equality and human rights, reports theyworkforyou.com.

She has never voted on allowing marriage between two people of the same sex.

Rehman Chishti - Foreign Office minister

 (Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament (Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)))
(Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament (Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)))

Environmental issues

Mr Chishti has generally voted for culling badgers in order to curb the spread of TB, as well as against regulation of fracking, as well as against lower taxes for motor vehicles.

Welfare, benefits and social issues

Mr Chishti has consistently voted against paying higher benefits for those unable to work due to illness or disability, as well as against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people.

Grant Shapps - Transport Secretary

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps speaking in the House of Commons (PA)
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps speaking in the House of Commons (PA)

Health

Mr Shapps generally voted for smoking bans, and has never voted for terminally ill people to be given the right to end their life.

Environmental issues

Mr Shapps generally voted against legislation to prevent climate change, according to the theyworkforyou.com website.

Welfare, benefits and social issues

Mr Shapps consistently voted against raising welfare benefits, as well as for reducing housing benefits for those with an excess of bedrooms.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting