The man with better poll ratings than either Brown or Cameron
Of all the ministers in Tony Blair’s cabinet the one who has the best approval ratings in the polls is the Home Secretary, John Reid.
Last week YouGov found that there was a 9% margin in his favour when people were asked whether they thought he was doing a job or not. This is a substantially bigger margin than Gordon Brown, Tony Blair or even David Cameron currently enjoy.
Amongst women Reid seems to be going down particularly well with a 12 point positive rating – double the similar figure for the Tory leader.
Unlike Gordon Brown who has just had one job in Government John Reid has led a wide range of different areas. He’s been Minister for Transport; Secretary of State for Scotland; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Minister without Portfolio and Party Chair; Leader of the House, Health Secretary, and Defence Secretary before moving to the Home Office in May after the Charles Clarke sacking.
Reid is the ultimate “safe pair of hands”. Whenever a cabinet minister has been in trouble John Reid has been the person that Tony Blair has asked to sort out the mess.
Could the next job that “needs sorting” be at Number 10 itself? Would Reid stand a chance if he ran against Gordon?
The ferocious way that he’s gone about leading the Home Office suggests that he has his eye on the main chance. Hardly a week has gone by without at least a couple of key policy announcements and the Home Office is certainly proving a great platform for building profile amongst the public and in the party.
The YouGov data seems to suggest that he’s succeeding.
John Reid and Gordon Brown have a long history of battles in Scottish Labour politics which go back a quarter of a century before both men even got into parliament. The last person that he wants to see take over from Tony is Gordon.
Reid is a tough fighter and if, as has been suggested, he stood in a leadership contest would put up a formidable challenge. He’s much more lucid than Brown and his Scottish accent might be less of a handicap in England.
But he is still Scottish and that might be a problem. And like Kinnock, Hague and IDS he is also bald.