Trusting Truss: Conservative MPs’ Voting Preferences in the (First) British Conservative Party Leadership Election of 2022


This paper identifies the candidate preferences of Conservative parliamentarians in the final parliamentary ballot and the membership ballot of the Conservative Party leadership election of 2022. We code each parliamentarian’s candidate preference within a wider dataset on the parliamentary Conservative Party (PCP) and test a range of hypotheses covering the following: a). personal factors relating to gender, sexuality, ethnicity and education b). political factors, relating to constituency marginality and type, as well as prior support for Johnson, and c). ideological factors, covering for example, attitudes towards Brexit, cultural debates, levelling up, economic liberalism, net zero and Covid restrictions. Our research findings demonstrate that despite common media narratives at the time of the party leadership election, variables capturing loyalty or opposition to Johnson did not structure patterns of support for candidates in either round. A parliamentarian’s position on levelling up, as well as the UK’s membership of, and relationship with, the European Union (based on whether they were remainers, leavers, or a member of the European Research Group) were more important in structuring support. However broader measures of ideology, as evidenced through the membership of extra-parliamentary groups, was found not to be important.

In Representation, Journal of Representative Democracy

Dr David Jeffery
Dr David Jeffery
Lecturer in Politics

My research interests include British politics (widely defined), Liverpool’s political history, Scouse identity, and quantitative methodologies.