It’s not unprecedented for a Conservative Prime Minister to fall into negative territory in our monthly Cabinet League Table. In April last year, Theresa May set a new record of scoring the lowest rating it has ever recorded – at -74. Compared to that, Boris Johnson’s -10.3 this month looks tame.
Nonetheless, it’s a rotten springboard from which to vault into Party Conference as it begins today. As we wrote yesterday, it reflects weariness with curbs, frustration with what seem to be fluctuating and arbitrary rules, a sense that Ministers at the top of Government are divided – and a certain frustration with the Prime Minister himself.
Liz Truss up to second in the table, from 62 per cent to 70 per cent. Dominic Raab and Michael Gove’s scores are both down but, with Steve Barclay and Truss, they are the only Cabinet Ministers to clear 50 per cent. As recently as last December, the entire Cabinet was in the black, with 18 of its members above that 50 per cent rating.
Matt Hancock joins Gavin Williamson, Robert Jenrick and Johnson in negative territory. Amanda Milling clambers out of it (just about). On a happier note, Douglas Ross more than doubles his rating from 26 per cent to 61 per cent: his aggression and energy in Scotland are getting noticed.
And finally: the Prime Minister has been low, though not nearly by this much, in the table before – shortly before he resigned as Foreign Secretary. He bounced back then, and could do so again. Once again, we make the point that this is much the same panel as gave him a 93 per cent rating after the last election.