POLITICS

Tories For Trump: Meet The Senior Conservatives Who Backed Him Over Hillary Clinton

07/11/2016 20:49 | Updated 08 November 2016
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While Trump has proven unpopular amongst Brits, he has had prominent Conservative backers

Donald Trump is winning over millions of Americans in his quest for the White House, but seems widely shunned here in Britain. 

Earlier this year, MPs debated banning him from entering the country after more than 580,000 people signed a petition urging minister to do so. 

The Republican nominee has faced derision from many senior Tories, including then Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the temporary plan to ban Muslims entering the US “divisive, stupid and wrong”. 

But he has had a surprising number of backers. 

Some Conservative MPs and advisors, even former frontbenchers and an ex-party leader, have praised Trump or leant their backing.

Here are five of the most prominent: 

1. Jacob Rees Mogg

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Jacob Rees Mogg

One of Parliament’s most considered and eloquent speakers, Jacob Rees Mogg revealed last month he would “almost certainly” vote for Trump if he were an American citizen. 

The North East Somerset MP said he was not perturbed enough by the Republican nominee’s “extremist” policies to back Clinton instead. 

“I would almost certainly vote Republican if I was American,” he told the BBC in September. “I would always vote for Tory candidates in the United Kingdom and I would probably be Republican if I were an American.

“But as I’m a British citizen I don’t have a vote, so I don’t have to wrestle with this problem unduly.”

He backtracked on the claim after footage of Trump emerged showing the candidate bragging about grabbing a woman’s genitalia, saying he could not “personally vote for either candidate - so would have to abstain”. 

Asked on November 7 - the day before most Americans head to the polls - whether he had changed his mind, Rees Mogg responded: “Yes I have.” 

2. Iain Duncan Smith

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Iain Duncan Smith

The former Work and Pensions Secretary, who resigned in dramatic style over his own party’s “indefensible” welfare cuts, hailed Trump as “a very decent man”. 

Duncan Smith said “serious politicians” in the US backed Trump and quoted high-ranking Republican, Speaker Paul Ryan, praising the billionaire tycoon. 

“There are some very serious politicians, Paul Ryan, he said categorically: that he [Trump] is a very decent man,” Duncan Smith told LBC in June

Pushed on whether he would back Trump or Clinton, the Chingford MP said: “I don’t have a vote, certainly – but I wouldn’t be voting for Clinton, that’s for sure. With her record on emails and her record on the State Department.” 

Duncan Smith’s office swiftly rebutted suggestions his comments were an endorsement of Trump. 

3. Michael Fabricant

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Michael Fabricant

Fabricant, a former government whip who, like Trump, is known for his distinctive blonde hair, went one step further, saying he thought the Republican would make “a great president”. 

He said Trump would likely change in office, becoming “very pragmatic” with a different set of advisors.

Fabricant told the BBC in May: “I don’t agree with much, if anything, of what [Trump’s] said up to now, but if he were elected president – I think it’s unlikely – but if he were elected president, I don’t think that it would necessarily mean that he would be a bad president at all.

“In fact, I think potentially he would could be a great president, because just as he knows - and has clearly demonstrated that he knows - how to become the Republican candidate and defeat all the others, I think as soon as he were to become president he would be very pragmatic, he would have different advisors around him…”

He later told The Huffington Post UK  that Clinton and Trump were “the two most unattractive candidates imaginable”.

“It has become boringly predictable for those who pretend to be in the know, to write off Donald Trump completely as a future president,” Fabricant said.

4. Steve Hilton

BBC
Steve Hilton

But it’s not just Tory politicians backing Trump - senior advisors have too. Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s former director of stratergy, recently took to Fox News to say he preferred Trump to Clinton. 

Hilton said Americans should put policy before “personal behaviour” and that Trump would bring a “positive forward movement”.

“If you’re rich, you can afford to take that view because, to be honest, if you have a President Clinton and the Democrats and more of the same economic stagnation, it doesn’t really affect you - your life is going to be fine.

“But if you’re a working American, who’s really struggling to pay the bills... you’ve got to put the real impact before personal behaviour and really look at policy.

“He’s got the real message of change and all she’s saying is more of the same, which has left the rich richer, but half of America earning less today than about 15 years ago.”

He added in an article for the broadcaster’s website: “It really matters to [poorer Americans] what happens to the economy, jobs, the cost of healthcare and many other practical matters, where the Trump policy agenda - especially if allied with a GOP-controlled Congress - could bring positive forward movement after years of stagnation, hardship and anxiety.

“As [South Carolina Governor] Nikki Haley made clear, you don’t have to agree with everything Donald Trump says or does to conclude that he would make the most positive, practical difference in the real lives of real people.”

5. Philip Davies

Philip Davies

Tory MP Philip Davies is by far the most openly-supportive voice in Parliament. He said he would vote for Trump “in a heartbeat” and had fought a “similar battle” to the Republican nominee here in Britain. 

Despite not having a vote in the upcoming election, the MP for Shipley said he could never have brought himself to back Hillary Clinton.

“She has spent much of her campaign going on about the fact that she is a woman,” he wrote in Heat Street. “If anything is going to turn me off even more than left-wing policies, it is that.”

He also drew parallels between Trump’s struggle in the US and Brexit, saying he hoped American voters followed their British counterparts and “put up two fingers to the Establishment”.

“In some respects I am very glad I don’t have a vote in the election in America but, as a Conservative who opposes political correctness with a passion, I know who I would vote for if I did.

“It might not be popular in the UK to say it – especially with our metropolitan elite – but, for all his faults, I would vote for Donald Trump.”

Voting Day

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Most voters in America will be casting their ballots for the US Presidency on Tuesday 8 November. 

HuffPost’s Pollster shows Clinton is on course to win, with 47.5% of the popular vote, while Trump trails on 42.3%. 

They have narrowed in recent days, after news the Democrat nominee was facing further investigation by the FBI over sensitive e-mails held on a personal server.

The Bureau’s director on Sunday announced there was no criminal wrongdoing in its reassessment of some 650,000 new e-mails found in October. 

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