Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
  2. Economics
17 July 2012

Which cabinet ministers do voters want to sack?

Andrew Lansley, Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May are top of the voters' hit list.

By George Eaton

With David Cameron’s first full cabinet reshuffle now expected shortly after MPs return from the summer recess on 3 September, the latest Times/Populus poll (£) asked the striking question, which cabinet ministers “should be sacked”? Top of the voters’ hit list, with 53 per cent of voters saying he should lose his job, was Andrew Lansley, a reminder that the government’s NHS reforms remain one of the biggest obstacles to a Tory victory at the next election. Next was Jeremy Hunt on 48 per cent, followed by Theresa May on 46 per cent, and George Osborne on 45 per cent. Conversely, just 36 per cent want Ken Clarke to be removed, and only 20 per cent think William Hague should be (though the Foreign Office is always a safe haven for ministers).

Hague, increasingly spoken of as the “under the bus” candidate to succeed Cameron, will also be cheered by the finding that 49 per cent of voters believe he’s doing a “good job”. By contrast, just 18 per cent believe Osborne is, which, given the recent economic data, is no surprise. The poll will likely embolden the growing band of conservative commentators (and even the odd Tory MP) publicly calling for the Chancellor’s head. There is much evidence to suggest that Osborne is the biggest drag on the government’s ratings. Before his kamikaze Budget, 46 per cent of voters thought the Tories were “competent and capable”, now just 34 per cent do, giving Labour a two-point lead on this measure.

The absence of a growth strategy was the key to the Tories’ decline; the formation of one is now the key to their revival. But the double-dip means that Osborne’s room for manoeuvre is shrinking all the time. Yesterday’s IMF growth forecasts (premised on a successful resolution of the eurozone crisis) suggest that he will almost certainly be forced to choose between ripping up his deficit plan (Osborne is still – just – on track to meet his “fiscal mandate” to eliminate the structural deficit over a rolling five-year period and to ensure that net debt is falling as percentage of GDP by the end of this parliament), destroying his reputation as a fiscal hawk, or cutting spending even harder and further strangling growth. This year’s autumn statement should already be giving the Chancellor sleepless nights.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
Building the business case for growth
“On supporting farmers, McDonald’s sets a high standard”
City of London Corporation brings stakeholders together to drive climate action
Topics in this article :