Philip Hammond is the only senior minister trusted overall with the country when Theresa May is away
On Monday, it was revealed that Boris Johnson is currently “senior minister on duty” whilst Theresa May is on holiday. Whilst Boris isn’t exactly running the country (the Prime Minister remains in charge and is updated wherever she is), he will be attending to urgent business or meetings as required.
For many – not least for Boris – this is a taste of a long-time dream: the former London mayor finally with his hands on the levers of power. For others it will be a disaster, one they thought had been averted by Michael Gove’s suicidal intervention during the Conservative leadership contest.
The extent to which Boris is trusted to look after the country in Theresa May’s absence is now clear. As something of a marmite politician, it is not surprising to find that he is the senior cabinet minister both most and least trusted to look after the country. Just over a third of people (36%) expressed confidence in Boris looking after the country, compared to 49% who did not. This gives the foreign secretary a net confidence rating of -13%.
Of the senior ministers we listed, Phillip Hammond was the only one with a positive net rating (+3%). The chancellor is trusted to look after the country by 33% of people, compared to 30% of people who do not trust him. The other senior ministers all scored badly, with home secretary Amber Rudd receiving a net score of -24%, Brexit secretary David Davis on -16% and international trade secretary Liam Fox on -25%.
Obviously a lot of voters don’t have any confidence in a Conservative running the country regardless of who they are. Among Boris’s two key constituencies – Conservative voters and Leave voters – he performs much more favourably. Conservative voters have confidence in him by a measure of nearly two to one (although Phillip Hammond has a higher net confidence score). Leave voters trust Boris with the country even more, with 61% confident in his abilities to run the country against 24% who are not.