The 25 most powerful people in British politics

A look into the men and women making British politics what it is

The next few months will be critical for Britain’s future; and these people will play a large part in deciding that future…

Theresa May MP, 60, Prime Minister

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

It’s not always the case, but the PM is currently the most important person in the country.  Yes – a parliamentary majority of 16 is weak on paper, but recent by election victories and massive leads in the polls suggest she’s going nowhere. All eyes will be on her and her heels as Brexit negotiations commence.

Michel Barnier, 66, European Chief Negotiator for Brexit

Barnier will be representing the European Union in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. Described as ‘the most dangerous man in Europe’, this Europhilic Frenchman will be a tough negotiator seeking the very best for the EU’s remaining members.

Boris Johnson MP, 52, Foreign Secretary

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

The former Mayor of London has calmed since miraculously becoming Foreign Secretary. There are fewer gaffes as he travels the world promoting British interests. Not only is he powerful overseas, but his popularity amongst the Conservative party and wider electorate gives him enormous influence.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, 46, First Minister of Scotland

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

The first woman to lead Scotland, Sturgeon’s determination for independence is as strong as ever (note her vote for a second election). It’s not all about independence, though – the SNP has 56 members of the House of Commons, giving Sturgeon huge sway on all Parliamentary matters even if they don’t affect Scotland.

Fiona Hill & Nick Timothy, Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Prime Minister

If you want to get close to the Prime Minister, you’ve got to get past these two advisors first. Described as the ‘people who really run the government’, they worked for Theresa May prior to Number 10 and wield extraordinary power.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, 55, Cabinet Secretary

It’s Sir Jeremy’s job to remain anonymous. As the UK’s most senior Civil Servant, he acts as senior policy advisor to the Prime Minister and is the head of the Civil Service. It’s hard to overestimate how much influence this role gives Heywood, but watch Yes Minister and you’ll have a fairly accurate idea.

John Bercow MP, 54, Speaker of the House of Commons

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

Bercow’s had a rocky few weeks with questions over his impartiality and yet another attempt to remove him, but the Speaker is still in his place.  Known for his ascerbic put-downs and diminutive stature, Bercow has massive input into what is debated.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, 67, Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

Corbyn is still the leader of the Opposition, albeit an ineffectual one. As we have argued, he could pull his act together and become more significant, but that’s still a long way off.  Incidentally, he really likes manhole covers.  Make of that what you will.

Laura Kuenssberg, 40, Political Editor, BBC

4.6 million of us tune in to the News at 10 each evening to receive our political news from Kuenssberg, who took over as the BBC’s Political Editor from Nick Robinson.  Thoroughly well connected, terrifyingly hard working and scrupulously impartial, Kuenssberg informs the public who, in turn, vote for the very people she reports on.

Nigel Farage MEP, 52, Former leader of UKIP

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

Farage has finally realised his dream of leaving the EU.  He may not be a universally adored figure, but no one can doubt his commitment to his work, albeit not to his marriage.  Who knows what’s next, but it might just involve his new best friend, President Trump.

David Davis MP, 68, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Davis’ promotion to Theresa May’s cabinet came as a surprise to some. He ran unsuccessfully against David Cameron for the Tory leadership and resigned his seat in protest in 2008.  Yet now he finds himself at the heart of Brexit negotiations with enormous ability to influence what post Brexit Britain will look like.

Tony Blair, 63, Former Prime Minister

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

Blair is back, recently calling for a rerun of the EU referendum.  Whilst this may not be a universally applauded interjection, he still commands support amongst the wider electorate, with many wondering if he might return to frontline politics.

Sadiq Khan, 46, Mayor of London

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

Probably the most successful Labour politician in the country, Khan’s mayoralty is going well. However, whether it’s housing or striking tube drivers he faces challenges, and is beginning to break election promises. Either way, the mayoralty is a powerful position that could launch his career even further.

Philip Hammond, 61, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Philip Hammond is possibly the most boring man in British politics and yet, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he’s important. Working closely alongside the PM Hammond is in charge of our money. Unbelievably he used to be a goth, so he’s qualified to get Britain back into the black…

Rupert Murdoch, 85, NewsCorp

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

Mr Murdoch’s influence may not be to everyone’s taste – but his ownership of the Times and the Sun give him enormous power.  Unlike other proprietors, it is said that he does influence the political positions his papers take, particularly at election time.  Even after the phone hacking scandal, Murdoch’s powerful.

Paul Dacre, 68, Editor, Daily Mail

The best paid newspaper editor in Britain has 10 million daily readers (and another 23 million online). Crucially, Dacre has editorial independence – giving him huge personal influence on the national debate.

Ruth Davidson MSP, 38, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives

Davidson’s a feisty defender of the Union whose national popularity has grown after successful appearances on Question Time and Have I got news for you. 

Seamus Milne, 58, Director of Strategy, Labour Party

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

Corbyn’s right hand man may not be a successful communications manager, but the Winchester-educated Milne carries great sway in Labour circles. He’ll be hoping to revive Corbyn’s fortunes before 2020 which, if successful, would make him very powerful indeed.

Tom Watson MP, 50, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

Known as somewhat of a fixer, Tom Watson is in the peculiar position of being the deputy to a leader he doesn’t particularly support.  However, he is focussed on working alongside Corbyn to make him more electable. In the meantime he enjoys playing video games and is obsessed with alternative rock.

Owen Jones, 32, Journalist

Luvvie of the Left Jones was an initial supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, but has since decided that his party is on the ‘brink of disaster’; and is fighting to replace Corbyn.  His large online following and Guardian readership, largely made up of Labour supporters, gives him great influence.

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, 47, Member of Parliament for North East Somerset

The mere fact that you’ve probably heard of Rees-Mogg makes him influential. Whether it’s his appearances of Have I Got News for You, shorts for Channel 4 or his interview with Ali G, the uber-posh backbencher is well known and widely liked across the house.

Paul Staines, 50, Editor and Founder, Guido Fawkes

Politicians are terrified of Guido Fawkes, the website (and once pseudonym) of Irish born Paul Staines.  The political gossip blog has tarnished and destroyed the careers of numerous politicians, including cabinet ministers, by exposing hypocrisy and wrongdoing.

Matthew Elliott, 39, Political Strategist

The 25 most powerful people in British politics

Arguably the most influential man you’ve never heard of, Elliott ran the successful campaigns to leave the EU and keep our first past the post voting system. A quiet individual with a passion for policy, he is extraordinarily well connected in Conservative circles.

Tim Farron MP, 46, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party

The Liberal Democrats may be down to 7 MPs, but Farron is not yet irrelevant.  With a growing membership and 98 members of the House of Lords the Blackburn Rovers- supporting leader will hope to resurge in 2020; even suggesting forming a new party with dissatisfied Labour MPs to do so.

Alex Salmond MP, 62, Former First Minister of Scotland

As one of the best-known SNP members in the House of Commons, Salmond still retains a great deal of influence despite handing the party’s leadership to Nicola Sturgeon. A gifted orator, he has a reputation as a class political act which, alongside his public profile, is not to be underestimated.

Further Reading