Not for the faint-hearted. Contains intense violence, blood and gore, strong language and Philip Hammond.
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.
The aftermath of Chequers saw the ratings of every single Cabinet member fall. It was its worst collective performance to date. But it is a measure of how shocking our latest monthly results are that those members would be justified in tumbling to their knees – and begging for those post-Chequers results to be resurrected.
Then, six Cabinet Ministers were in negative territory: Brandon Lewis, Greg Clark, Julian Smith, Chris Grayling, Philip Hammond…and Theresa May.
Now, they are joined by Jeremy Wright, David Gauke, Claire Perry, David Lidington, Liam Fox, Amber Rudd – on her return to the top table – Caroline Nokes, Andrea Leadsom, Karen Bradley and, on his debut, by Steve Barclay. Unsweet sixteen.
Yes, that’s sixteen Ministers in the red, rather than six – outnumbering the 13 of its members who get into the black, some of them by tiny margins. No fewer than seven ministers have positive ratings of lower than ten points: James Brokenshire, Gavin Williamson, David Mundell, Alan Cairns, Damian Hinds and, yes, the mighty Michael Gove, who topped the table as recently as June.
Geoffrey Cox led the pack with a 67.5 approval rating last month. He is still top, but his rating is down by about a third. Ditto, roughly, the table’s other top performers, if that label can be used in the same sentence as this dismal return.
And never mind the ratings – look at the falls. Liam Fox was at 35, but is now in negative territory. Andrea Leadsom’s score follows a similar pattern. Penny Mordaunt hasn’t publicly defended the deal. Maybe that’s why she’s still in the black. Just about.
So is there any good news for anyone at all? It depends what you mean. Theresa May’s rating was actually lower after Chequers, but her scores are still horrible: – 48.1 then, – 42 this month (she was – 42.3 last month, since you ask). However, Philip Hammond is at -46.7, which must be a new low, even for him.
Ruth Davidson would have cause to think, as she gives Baby Finn a cuddle: what’s the point of coming back?