Since we published last month’s Cabinet League Table, Jeremy Hunt has presented his first Budget. The Chancellor’s measures were no less painful than expected; the OBR’s forecasts a bit better than anticipated.
Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has agreed the Windsor Framework for the Northern Ireland Protocol, seen a backbench revolt against it kept to a relatively small number, announced that Britain will design nuclear-powered submarines for Australia under the terms of Aukus…and fronted for the Government’s plan to end small boat crossings.
The Gary Lineker row may well have projected these more powerfully than would otherwise have been the case. There have also been, as last month, relatively few “noises off” – Boris Johnson’s appearance before the Standards Committee being the main one.
All these factors have probably helped to raise the Prime Minister’s ratings and his small boats proposals perhaps most of all. Last month, he was sixth from bottom on 7.4 points. This month, he’s sixth from top on 43.7. Though that total is still relatively modest, the jump is very big.
Sunak’s supporters and opponents alike will note that his calm, orderly, methodical way of governing, in contrast to what came before, is impressing Party activists – at least for the time being.
The opponents will claim that it’s all too little, too late. The supporters will counter that where the panel goes today, voters may go tomorrow – and that Keir Starmer hasn’t sealed the deal with the wide electorate. We shall see. Elsewhere –