We followed the same procedure for Minister of the Year in this year’s Christmas survey as we did for Backbencher of the Year – that’s to say, we asked panel members to write in their preferred names – citing none ourselves and so giving no steer.
There were 45 nominations (compared to 181 for Backbencher of the Year). “Ben Wallace, bit obvious this one isn’t it?” one respondent replied.
Many others agreed – or at any rate, more of them voted for the Defence Secretary, who has topped our Cabinet League Table since last February, than for any other single candidate.
Wallace won 133 votes, almost double the total of the next contender, Kemi Badenoch. She had 72 votes. Suella Braverman was third with 65.
(That Badenoch was second in last month’s Cabinet League Table on 63.4 and Braverman eleventh on 21.9 suggests that the latter, unlike the former, attracts a bit of panel opposition.)
Boris Johnson had 45 votes, Rishi Sunak 40, Jeremy Hunt 35, Penny Mordaunt 27, Jacob Rees-Mogg 24 and Liz Truss 31. No-one else gained more than 30.
There were 18 “nones”, five spoilt, and 30 respondents skipped the question altogether. There were 71 non-respondents to the Backbencher of the Year question: put all that together, and you have a significant degree of panel disillusion.
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. “Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy nights”, as Kiss puts it.