Our latest Cabinet League Table is pasted above. Here are some observations:
- Gove returns to the top. After being supplanted by Iain Duncan Smith in December, Michael Gove has returned to the top of the Cabinet League Table. He’s actually gained almost 10 points on his score from last month, although I don’t know whether there’s a specific reason for it. The lingering speculation that he might come out for leaving the EU, perhaps? In any case, as I’ve said before, it suggests that Gove’s prison reforms aren’t anathema to party members – quite the opposite.
- The other top-enders. Whilst we’re in the upper part of the table, it’s worth making note of two of its mainstays: Michael Fallon and Sajid Javid. Each has the same position as he did last month – third in Fallon’s case, fourth in Javid’s – but with an improved rating. These two relative newcomers to the Cabinet are consistently among its most popular members with Conservatives.
- Crabb appears from nowhere. Last month, Stephen Crabb was very much a middle order performer: 14th in the table, with a rating of 43.3. This month, he’s gained almost 14 points in a balletic leap up to 6th. What explains it? As always, our survey gives us the numbers but not the reasons. Perhaps the Welsh Secretary’s Wilberforce Address, delivered on 11th December, captured the attention and hearts of our respondents.
- Halfon’s (sort of) recovery. It’s a slow road back for Robert Halfon after he was caught up in the Mark Clarke story. He has recovered two places and 13 points since his precipitous decline last month, but he’s still stuck in the depths of the table.
- Feldman sinks lower. As for Lord Feldman, his rating has reduced even further. Last month, he achieved a record fall to become the first Conservative of this Parliament with a negative score. Now he’s fallen by another 18 points. Party members aren’t feeling kinder towards the Chairman just because the bullying story has lost some of its prominence in the papers.