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And so our survey is now led for a third month running by a man who claims to have no interest in standing for the party leadership – I believe truthfully.
But one can’t know what will happen in politics, and perhaps the flame of ambition is never quite extinguished in even the most retiring of politicians, so we are keeping Gove in the survey, at least for the time being.
The rest of the results suggest that there may indeed be no such thing as bad publicity, especially if you stick at whatever it is that you are doing. Last month, Boris’s rating slipped slightly in the wake of Hitlergate and some other perceived media blunders, but he has kept in the news – indeed, this campaign is further proof that he is news – and his standing has soared by eight points.
Priti Patel’s rating, by contrast, is down three. Liam Fox’s rating is down five. So one can conclude that when Boris makes the news and makes it well he can draw support from other potential pro-Brexit leadership candidates. Otherwise, there is little movement in the poll. It may be worth noting that Theresa May’s rating, up last month in the wake of her somewhat reticent pro-Remain setpiece speech, stays steady.
In March, the Justice Secretary leaped up the survey ladder to second, in the wake of his declaration for Brexit. In April, he overhauled Boris to take the lead. Last month, he extended his rating and kept the lead. This month, he joins Boris, May and George Osborne in being one of a small band who have headed our future leadership survey for three months running – a reminder that what goes up can also come down.