The recent leadership ballot, two by-election losses and a sense of Government rudderlessness are taking their toll on the panel.
Boris Johnson himself remains at the bottom of our Cabinet League Table for a second month running, with his score falling from -15 to -31. He’s been in the red for four of this year’s six months: January, February, last month and this.
Rishi Sunak strays the wrong side of the line for the second time in three months. Last month, he came in at 11.7. Now he is -2.7.
Ben Elliot’s negative rating deepens from -0.4 to -14.9. Alok Sharma crosses into negative territory from 1.6 to – 0.4. Douglas Ross continues in the red, too.
And with the exception of Ben Wallace, marginally up at the top of the table from 85 to 85.5, everyone else is down. Take three people more or less at random.
Last month, Sajid Javid was ninth on 44.7. This month, he is eighth, but down to 43. Or take Allister Jack, eighth from last last month on 16.2 and seventh from last this month on 12.
Or Michelle Donelan, firmly mid-table last month and this – but down from 32.6 to 24.6. These are mostly not spectacular falls – though some of those near the top of Cabinet, like Liz Truss and Michael Gove, have been badly hit.
I wrote immediately after the recent ballot that “the Cabinet should act. (Though doubtless they won’t.)” My point was that they should advise the Prime Minister to quit before a further likely challenge or election reverse.
Two former Party leaders, William Hague and Michael Howard, have since put the same case, as have others – and the most likely explanation of the general Cabinet fall is that its members are being marked down for inaction.
This would also explain why no possible future leadership contender from within the Cabinet (or indeed from outside it). won more than 16 per cent in our main Next Tory Leader survey. The Next Tory Leader run-offs follow today.