The Prime Minister cannot be accused of using the recent Ministerial re-shuffle to seek to gag Brexiteers by bringing them into the government’s ‘payroll’ vote.
Given that before the June election last year there was only a slight majority within the Conservative Parliamentary Party for Remain, a breakdown of the cohort of 44 PPSs following the reshuffle shows a much more significant gap between Remainers and Brexiteers. 59% of those appointed in January were for staying and 41% for leaving. This marks only a small increase in the proportion of Brexiteers who made up 35% of PPSs prior to the reshuffle, but not enough for May to be accused of seeking to bind potential hard line Brexit rebels by making them subject to collective government discipline.
If you add to the ‘payroll’ group the 16 MPs appointed as trade envoys, the disparity is just as significant with 38% of these being Brexiteers and the majority at 63% being Remainers.
Perhaps Theresa May sees the need to keep Remainers close given their concern at what they perceive as the PM’s seeking to appease the hard-Brexiteers with her statements about not being a part of any customs union, no role for the ECJ and no compromise on freedom of movement during the transition phase.
Remainers might choose to argue that is a reflection of the calibre of the MPs within the two groups.
There is some redress for Brexiteers with 3 of those appointed straight from the backbenches to a Ministerial job being leavers and only one a stayer.