It’s that time again – the monthly Cabinet League Table. Who’s up and who’s down?
- Leadsom leaps to the top spot. This must be one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the history of the League Table. In November, after the Prime Minister’s deal was released, Andrea Leadsom was down in 21st place, with a net rating of -16.3. At the end of December, she put on 50 points, helped by a battle with the ever-unpopular John Bercow, and was up to fifth place, with a net rating of +34.2. In our January survey she had climbed further, up to third place with a net rating of +43. This month she caps that by gaining a further 11.6 points to seize the top spot in the table, with a rating of +54.6. Iain Dale wrote last week about ‘the quiet rise of Andrea Leadsom’, and it certainly seems that her decision to stay in the Cabinet rather than resign has paid off, so far.
- A great month for Javid. The Home Secretary might have reasonably expected a positive result this month, after his firm stance against Shamima Begum returning to the UK secured the backing of more than three quarters of party member respondents to our survey. He has more than recovered the ground he lost in January, and almost doubles his rating to a very healthy +49.8, rising from eighth to second place.
- Truss’s rating climbs steadily. November: +15.8. December: +28.5. January: +35. And now February: +39.9. That is a very positive trend for any minister in these rankings, particularly in turbulent times, and her pronouncements on the ‘Corbyn-lite’ nature of Downing Street’s thinking is unlikely to hurt.
- The Cabinet overall is still in a bad place. Fifteen ministers have ratings in negative territory, having failed to recover from the unpopularity of first Chequers and then the deal itself. The whole Cabinet’s net rating, which stood at almost +1000 a year ago now bumps along at -1.2, essentially a neutral score. That is a miserable verdict from a Party’s grassroots on its top Government team. As we’ve seen above, it’s not all just neutral – some people are doing well, and others badly, but there’s an increasing polarisation. The average rating of the top ten continues to rise while the average of the bottom ten continues to fall.
- A rough month for anti-No-Dealers Gauke, Rudd and Clark. The three Cabinet ministers who forced the Prime Minister to change tack by pledging publicly to oppose No Deal at all costs recently have all suffered for doing so. David Gauke’s rating falls from -23.8 to -36.6. Amber Rudd’s declines from -35.9 to -48.3. Greg Clark sees his rating fall from -31.8 to -40.8. Having given in to them, the Prime Minister’s rating also slips, down to -40.8.
- Grayling plumbs new depths. If the ministers above feel bad about their numbers, they can always console themselves that they aren’t Chris Grayling. The Transport Secretary has been jostling with Philip Hammond for the bottom spot in the table for some time now, but opens up a commanding lead as the most poorly rated member of the Cabinet, right down on -60.1. It’s one of the worst scores this League Table has ever recorded.
- All eyes on Cox. Geoffrey Cox, having risen to prominence (in real life and in the League Table) since the Conservative Party Conference now finds himself taking centre stage in the latter phases of Brexit. He has consolidated his rating at a health +44.7 this month, but with all eyes on him in the coming weeks he has everything to play for. No pressure.