Boris Johnson Exit Date Odds: Johnson to leave imminently?
Following on from our recent Boris Johnson article there have been even more revelations and scandal from within 10 Downing Street. #Partygate has taken on a life of its own and current estimates suggest as many as a dozen gatherings have been held within the confines of the Conservative Party offices/ Downing Street whilst the rest of the country was locked down with severe restrictions in place. People are rightly furious, including dozens within the Conservative Party and there are widespread rumours of a vote of no confidence and a leadership challenge being triggered imminently. We have sent our man @OddsTerrier back into the murky world of all things Politics to see how the current odds look on an early exit for Johnson and who could possibly replace him.
Boris Johnson has had an appalling few years. While there are a large number of people thankful for him for 'getting brexit done' and the UK vaccine rollout, there are far more who hold him personally responsible for the huge number of Covid related deaths in the UK (153k by the latest 28-day defined count) and he has overseen a litany of political scandals over the last 24 months, many of which have been of his own making.
First we had VIP-lane PPE contracts being found unlawful, the Dominic Cummings 'Barnard Castle' affair, the paid holidays and paid wallpaper, the resignation of Matt Hancock for his sexual groping in his office (still can't unsee!), the resignation of Owen Paterson for his illegal lobbying, the resignation of Allegra Stratton for laughing at the Tory Xmas cheese and wine party and now this month, the revelation that 100 staff members were invited to a BYOB party in the garden of 10 Downing Street.
Firstly Johnson denied it had happened, then he denied he was there, then he apologised but said he thought it was a work event and finally said no one had told him it was against the self same regulations he had announced himself only weeks prior. Laughable. Perhaps the publicly crowd-funded satirists Led By Donkeys can explain it better than I can...
How will he go?
The next UK General Election is scheduled to take place on Thursday 2nd May 2024, in line with the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. Therefore the only way that Boris Johnson will leave his post is either to resign, which if he was going to do, he would have already done - or to be forced out by his own party. This appears to be increasingly likely and there are strong rumours of a red-wall, 2019 elected Tory MP plot to oust him; titled The Pork-Pie plot, due to the fact the MP for Melton Mowbray is heavily involved.
So exactly how will they manage this? 54 (15% of current tory mp's) letters are required to be submitted to Graham Brady, who is the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee to trigger a vote of no confidence and a leadership election. That wouldn't necessarily be the end of Johnson as Theresa May showed back in 2018, when winning her confidence vote; of course she resigned just a few months later due to the Brexit deadlock.
One would expect Boris Johnson to face a much tougher battle than May though, especially should the forthcoming Sue Gray investigation find him culpable.
When will he go?
Johnson is now a massive odds-on favourite to leave his position in 2022. He is as short as even money to leave before March, this year. The outsider option (7/1) would be for him to hang on , yet depart before the next General Election in 2023. Johnson to grind it out and remain until the next scheduled GE in 2024 is available at 5/1. Both of those now look hugely unlikely.
So who might replace him?
Rishi Sunak - 47/25
The current Chancellor of the Exchequer is the obvious replacement as Prime Minister. 'Dishy Rishi' is the party golden boy, heart-throb to the housewives, and cold-blooded stats man who is the steady hand to ensure the economy continues to recover post-pandemic. Whether the general electorate will be able to find common ground with a former banker at Goldman Sachs, a hedge-fund owner and a man who is married to a woman richer than the queen is another question altogether. However, he has been long seen as the natural successor to Johnson and it's hard to disagree with the odds here.
Liz Truss - 5/1
If you had asked me a few years ago about Liz Truss becoming the next Prime Minister, I'd have made a discrete call to Broadmoor and had you shipped off. The former Secretary of State for International Trade burst onto the political scene with a very strange speech on pork markets and cheese, but since then has been promoted to the heady heights of Foreign Secretary and is seen by some as the next darling of the party.
Jeremy Hunt - 7/1
'The Hunt' looked to be a long shot a couple of years ago when he resigned from the cabinet and the role of Foreign Secretary back in 2019 in protest of the appointment of Boris Johnson as party leader. Hunt ran in that same contest and ran on a strong anti-Johnson rhetoric.
However, since then in his role as Chairman of the Health and Social Care select committee he has regularly held the government to account on their failings during the Covid-19 Pandemic. In particular, he was extremely critical of then Health Secretary Matt Hancock and is now seen as a more centre-leaning candidate who could win more floating voters. The general public will have long memories of his own time as Health Secretary though, which included the infamous junior doctor strike.
Penny Morduant - 16/1
Morduant is the current MP for Portsmouth North and the serving Minister of State for Trade Policy. The 48-year-old has emerged as a dark horse to become the new Tory Party leader and her odds have reflected that. Coming in from 40/1 last year to as short as 10/1 at some bookmakers. The staunch Brexiteer is well liked by the new influx of red-wall MPs elected back in 2019 and is seen as someone who gets the job done. She has however, made several controversial comments including suggesting overseas aid would be better spent on a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia. I can't see this one happening.
Michael Gove - 17/1
Surely you jest? The Governator? A man who was recently filmed gurning his face off whilst raving in an Aberdeen nightclub, in charge of the country?
Well the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities is best priced 17/1 to take over the main job next. Gove has obviously demonstrated his ambition in the past when running twice in the Conservative Party leadership contests in 2016 and again in 2019. However, questions remain about his role in PPE lobbying during the Covid Pandemic and he looks an unlikely candidate to unify the party.
Sajid Javid - 18/1
Javid always features highly in these markets and has obvious ambitions for the post, having stood against Johnson in 2019. Having been appointed by Johnson as Chancellor of the Exchequer in his first cabinet, Javid eventually resigned from the post after a disagreement with Johnson and Dominic Cummings about firing his backroom staff. After the resignation of then Health Secretary Matt Hancock back in June 2021 , Javid returned to the Cabinet in that role and has remained there since. He has been more vocal about the removal of Covid-related restrictions than Hancock and that in particular will go down well with a lot of civil-liberties preaching backbenchers.
We'll continue to monitor the markets here at BettingOdds.com and will have all the relevant odds should any leadership challenge occur.