The Prime Minister has officially survived 100 days in office! A milestone worthy of top spot this week given the duration of his predecessor... Meanwhile, has Raab finally striked out?
Flying High: Rishi Sunak
This week’s top spot goes to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has officially survived 100 days in office. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be considered an epic feat, but given this milestone is double the duration of his predecessor, it really is quite the achievement.
Sunak won’t be celebrating any time soon, however, as fresh polling for the Times and Times Radio reveals that the PM has yet to convince most former Tory voters that he has what it takes to see off Keir Starmer at the next general election.
More worryingly, his personal numbers are dropping, and are approaching the low level of the Tory brand. This has happened remarkably quickly for a new prime minister, and is a concern as this polling question is often one of the most accurate predictors of future general election performance. Sunak needs to get that popular touch back, and quick, if he wants lo last another 100 days.
Middle Ranking: Grant Shapps
Middle spot this week goes to the Business Secretary Grant Shapps who successfully guided the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill through Parliament this week. Such is Mr Shapps’s parliamentary and legislative ability that he was able to glide the Bill through committee stage and third reading in a single day, a move usually only used for emergency legislation or issues of conscience.
Having gone through the biggest week of strike action in years, the legislation is clearly very topical but it will be in the Lords that the real scrutiny of the detail of the Bill will take place. The Peers may well undertake measures to delay its progress and expect multiple amendments to the Bill in its current state before it returns to the Commons.
Sinking Quickly: Dominic Raab
It’s been a week to forget for the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary who, if reports are true, could become the latest minister to be booted out of Sunak’s government.
Raab is currently the subject of eight formal complaints by senior civil servants over his conduct in three government departments. The complaints go back several months but attention has escalated this week after Zahawi’s sacking over the weekend left the press playing ‘who’s next?’.
Sunak is in a bind as he can’t afford to have his Deputy Prime Minister accused of bullying when he promised to bring “integrity” to government. But nor does he want to sack another senior cabinet minister in a matter of days. Not only would this destabilise his government, but it would also sew murmurings amongst the ministerial troops that due process wasn’t followed and that Sunak just bends with the wind of public opinion.
Sunak will need to decide soon and it could well be that it is the backbenches that are ‘Ready for Raab’.