The Scottish Secretary, understated in his public utterances, “often makes the wittiest interjections in Cabinet discussions”.
It’s a tribute of a kind to the topsy-turvy nature of 2022 that Johnson, Truss and Sunak were all eligible to be both Minister of the Year and Backbencher of the Year.
I wish to be your guardian angel, and whisk you off to another reality for a moment – one where a Conservative government did not exist…
The average score is the lowest recently, though not by all that much – a natural extension of the panel’s verdict yesterday on the Government’s economic policy.
Wallace is top again. Badenoch and Cleverly score well. Sunak wins a respectable rating. And Williamson is in negative territory.
But can he induce the backbenchers who applauded his victory to refrain from civil war?
Mordaunt left it to the last minute to drop out of the race, but she has. Sunak will now be our leader and Prime Minister.
Penny Mordaunt says that being in favour of stability and low taxes are “two sides of the same coin”.
The Leader of the House has 18 declared supporters as I write. Her chances of making the ballot look very limited, unless one of the other candidates doesn’t stand after all, and she is able to take most of their votes.
Some Tory members would see such a development as nothing less than an establishment coup: as a conspiracy of bad actors working together to win revenge for Brexit.
Wallace is top again – with Cleverly, Badenoch, Braverman, Rees-Mogg and Mordaunt above 50 points. There’s a tentative air about this table, as the panel feels its way with the new regime.
Both candidates are saying the right things. My own vote will be going to Truss, given that she has been speaking out and acting on this issue long before any leadership contest arose.
Though while both candidates have been successful in putting on support since the last round, Truss is marginally ahead – gaining 24 votes to Sunak’s 21.
The contrast between those blithe campaigns and this appalling landscape is unnerving, and raises profound questions about politicians and truth.
She explains why she changed her mind on Brexit, confirms she would change the Bank’s mandate, and says she would be happy to find a place for Sunak in her team.