As we come to the end of the year, Theresa May’s Cabinet remains in pretty good shape overall – as Mark Wallace pointed out last month, we haven’t always found everybody examined in this survey enjoying a positive rating. Here are the interesting takeaways from this month’s responses:
- Theresa May is up almost eight points, from 79.9 to 87.7. This puts her ahead of Ruth Davidson – still the second most popular individual – for the first time since our first survey of her administration, when the Scottish Tory leader’s numbers were unusually low.
- Philip Hammond yo-yos back up once more by more than 34 points, from 42.4 to 76.6. We noted last time how the wide swings in his standings reflect divisions between his role as an economic ‘dry’ and a soft Brexiteer, and it looks like the Autumn Statement has put him back in members’ good books.
- David Davis has had a stellar month, rising from fifth place to second in the Cabinet and third overall. The Brexit Minister has been winning respect from Eurosceptics and Europhiles alike in Whitehall, according to the FT, and this surge suggests that the Tory grassroots may be counted, for the moment, amongst the widening circle of Davis’s admirers.
- The Cabinet is generally ranked more highly than in November. Greg Clark’s positioning provides a useful illustration: in November his score of 62.6 per cent had him in fourth place, but despite a modest rise to 64.4 his ranking has slipped to 11th. Some of the pro-Brexit ministers have seen sharp increases in their standing – Priti Patel from 59 to 71.1, and Liam Fox from 44.8 to 71.9 – but so have Jeremy Hunt (46.1 to 69.3) and Damian Green (55.2 to 67.8).
- One person who may be particularly pleased with their score is Amber Rudd, who has soared from 15.8 to 49.1. The latest slew of awful from pages from the ill-starred Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse seems to have abated, which will have helped.