Once the popularity of politicians was judged by how many babies they were asked to kiss – now it’s by how many kids are named after them. The Office for National Statistics has today revealed the most popular baby names for 2020, with Oliver and Olivia remaining the most popular names for boys and girls in England and Wales for the fifth consecutive year. Mothers aged 35 years and over continued to choose more traditional names, while younger mothers opted for more modern and shortened names.
But none of that matters here in Westminster where all eyes were (naturally) combing the ONS figures to see how many new mothers and fathers have chosen to bestow the names of our elected leaders on their darling offspring. After a whirlwind 12 months in which he was catapulted from political obscurity to being the most popular member of the government, it’s no surprise that the tenure of ‘Dishy Rishi’ at the Treasury has coincided with a 70 per cent uptick in baby Rishis, from 26 kids in 2019 to 46 in 2020.
Elsewhere the name ‘Boris’ rose again from 39 to 43, a trend which matches the Prime Minister’s upward climb from the beginning of the century when merely a handful shared his distinctive moniker. Sir Keir Starmer’s flatlining personal ratings were meanwhile reflected in the drop off in babies taking his name last year, with numbers dropping from 15 to just nine – the lowest figures in more than a quarter of a century. Indeed those proud ‘Keirleaders’ only narrowly outweighed the rump of Corbynites who clearly cling to the former Labour leader, judging by the four births in 2020, up from less than three the year before.
Still, it could be worse. So few Pritis have been born since the Home Secretary took office that they are not published by the ONS so as not to identify the individuals in question.
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