At the beginning of the year, the following were not members of the Cabinet –
Boris Johnson; Dominic Raab; Priti Patel; Robert Buckland; Ben Wallace; Therese Coffey; Theresa Villiers; Robert Jenrick; Grant Shapps; Alister Jack; Simon Hart; Alok Sharma; James Cleverly.
(We leave aside for a moment those entitled to attend.)
And the following were members of the Cabinet –
Theresa May; David Lidington, Philip Hammond; Jeremy Hunt; Penny Mordaunt; David Gauke; Damian Hinds; Liam Fox; Greg Clark; Chris Grayling; James Brokenshire; David Mundell; Alun Cairns; Karen Bradley; Jeremy Wright; Amber Rudd; Brandon Lewis.
(Again, we leave for a moment those entitled to attend.)
One member of the present Cabinet, Gavin Williamson, was a member at the start of the year and at the end – but sacked in between.
Another, Andrea Leadsom, ends the year as a fully-fledged member, began with the right to attend…and resigned between the two.
All of which is a reminder of what a turbulent year this has been at the top of politics – as well as elsewhere.
This pace of change made it hard to select four candidates to put to the panel as Minister of the Year. (And we might have looked beyond the top table – to Nick Gibb, say, at the Education Department.)
But in the end we settled on two energetic Cabinet ministers who served the year in the same roles throughout: Michael Gove and Matt Hancock.
And also chucked in Geoffrey Cox, who as Attorney General has had the right to attend throughout, and Liz Truss, originally entitled to attend as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and now Secretary of State for International Trade.
Gove’s creativity and media skills will always serve him well in surveys like these, and he is duly top once again with over half the vote.
Cox’s good showing suggests that our pro-Brexit panel will always take a shine to pro-Brexit Ministers. It is sobering to reflect that Gove also tried and failed to become Conservative leader this year…
…And that though we’re confident he will survive the large-scale reshuffle due at the end of January (assuming he wants to stay), further large-scale change is sure to come.