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Last month’s Cabinet League Table was published in the wake of Nadhim Zahawi’s resignation. Since then, Rishi Sunak’s invocation of Section 35 has played a part in the fall of Nicola Sturgeon, and Volodymyr Zelenskyy has spoken in Westminster Hall.
Perhaps I’m wrong to draw special attention to these events; maybe others are more significant – or perhaps this month’s return is just the luck of the draw.
But be that as it may, nearly everyone’s rating is slightly up: mostly, margin of error stuff (see Mel Stride’s rise from 22 to 24 points); sometimes, just a bit more (Steve Barclay is up from 30 points to 41.)
Alister Jack has clearly gained from the Sturgeon imbroglio. On 47 points, he is now fifth in the table. Kemi Badenoch’s defence of Kate Forbes’ right to her Christian views has been prominent: she’s up from 61 points to 73.
It would be wrong to make too much of these modest rises. In the first Cabinet League Table of this Parliament, only five Ministers scored below 40 points. In this month’s table, only six score more than that figure.
At seven points, Rishi Sunak’s own rating is lamentable (it has edged up from four last month). And there is one notable fall – Johnny Mercer, who drops from 44 points and fourth place to 25 and thirteenth.
The moral of the story is either never row publicly with Ben Wallace, or never suggest our armed forces are properly funded. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt is further into the red, falling from minus six to minus 13, and Therese Coffey is also in negative ratings.
That’s a sign of the pressure on him for tax cuts ahead of the Budget, but the general political background has been slightly less grim during February than January – and Barclay’s rise may be a sign that the strikes are playing out, at least as far as the panel is concerned. Meanwhile, Dominic Raab’s fightback over allegations of bullying sees his score up from two to 23.