Michael Gove was as pugilistic at education (the teaching unions disliked his policies) as he is pacific at justice (the best-known prison interest groups, such as the Howard League for Penal Reform, view him as a breath of fresh air).
The shift is making little difference to his standing among this site’s readers, as his place in our monthly league table of Cabinet Ministers confirms: he is always near the top. That he has produced nothing of substance yet on ECHR reform has had little impact either.
Had he been up against Iain Duncan Smith, say, in our Minister of the Year survey the result might have been tighter. Other senior ministers such as Theresa May and George Osborne also scored well among the write-ins, though none preponderantly.
But competing against Oliver Letwin, David Lidington and Tracey Crouch he took 58 per cent to their five, four and 15 per cent respectively. “Others” took 18 per cent.
The Justice Secretary is plainly seen as a bit of a Conservative hero by Party members, though perhaps also as too rarefied a politician to be a future leader, at least at present. (He tends to hover either side of five per cent or so in our monthly survey.) Which way will he jump if the EU referendum is held this year?