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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April, 2003, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Hoon's personal war dividend
Soldiers in Iraq
War has affected minister's ratings
It appears that the war with Iraq has had a big impact on the reputations of Tony Blair and his cabinet colleagues.

The annual ICM/Guardian poll, which asks members of the public to rate cabinet ministers, suggests that defence secretary Geoff Hoon is seen to be doing the best job of the lot.

It is a far cry from the time when he was jokingly referred to by correspondents at Westminster as Geoff Who?

Indeed his "people" used to ring up journalists in the hope of securing the great man a bit of much needed publicity.

But now Baghdad is secured and the regime of Saddam Hussein toppled, it seems that one of the clear victors from this military campaign is the UK's defence secretary.

Beaten Blair

He has even beaten Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on this occasion - although the prime minister and the chancellor top the poll as far as Labour voters are concerned.

By contrast International Development Secretary Clare Short has suffered over her decision to stay on the frontbenches despite her vocal opposition to attacking Iraq.

Ministers' rating
Geoff Hoon +25
Jack Straw +23
David Blunkett +21
Gordon Brown +14
Tony Blair +7
Charles Clarke +5
Clare Short -2
Lord Irvine -4
Alan Milburn -7
John Prescott -22
Alistair Darling -22
According to the poll her net approval rating among all voters fell from plus 23 points in May 1999 to minus two now.

Of the Labour voters questioned it seems that 47% believe she is doing a good job while 34% are unhappy with her performance.

But even Ms Short cannot claim the mantle of the most unpopular cabinet minister.

In joint last place come Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Transport Secretary Alistair Darling with a rating of minus 22.

Better rating than Byers

Mr Darling's score can be explained in no small part because of his portfolio rather than because of his personal performance and, compared to predecessor Stephen Byers' minus 49 last year, he is doing pretty well.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw - who also had a high profile during the war - improved on a creditable plus seven last year to be rated at plus 23 in this year's poll.

Home Secretary David Blunkett has retained his positive 21 point score he had last year.

Mr Blair is on just plus seven while Mr Brown's rating of plus 45 last year is down to 14 points this year.




SEE ALSO:
Send Blix to Iraq, says Cook
23 Apr 03  |  Politics
Did Blair risk all?
18 Apr 03  |  Politics
Geoff Hoon
21 Oct 02  |  Politics


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