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UK Politics: Boris on his way out? We look at the odds

UK Politics: Questions are being asked about Boris from within his own party after bizarre CBI speech.
UK Politics: Questions are being asked about Boris from within his own party after bizarre CBI speech.

During a recent speech in front of industry bigwigs at the CBI conference in Tyneside the Prime Minister managed to include Peppa Pig, Moses, Lenin, broom broom noises and an extremely long and uncomfortably pause whilst he lost his way (you can see the collated omnishambles below and the full speech here). It's just another day in the world of lovable, madcap, man of the people Boris Johnson right? Well as Labour, and a certain Stephen Patrick Morrissey put it: "no one is laughing, because that joke isn't funny anymore...".

The speech was so bizarre even a Downing Street spokesman was forced to come out and assure the country that Johnson "wasn't unwell". As someone who voted Remain and didn't vote Tory at the last two major elections in this country it's probably wise that I keep my political opinions and ranting to a minimum and instead concentrate on the odds. I've analysed the markets and will try to answer all the big questions surrounding the PM, a potential exit date, and his eventual successor.

Political Betting

When will Boris Johnson leave his position as PM?

The next UK General Election is scheduled to take place on Thursday 2nd May 2024, in line with the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. It was widely assumed that Johnson would call an earlier election at some point before that date as has been the norm in recent years. However, he is unlikely to call an early election whilst Labour are so close in the polls as the Conservatives will be loathe to lose their hefty 80-seat majority. 

The former chief political adviser to Johnson and widely credited as the brains behind Brexit, Dominic Cummings, recently stated that Boris was aiming to exit as PM two years after the next General Election which would put the date at sometime around 2025/26. However, there have been strong and considerable rumours from within the Tory Party that he may be asked/forced to leave sooner. The recent Owen Paterson lobbying sleaze scandal hit the Conservatives hard in the polls, with some pollsters having Labour in a slight lead and the recent CBI speech has only strengthened doubts over whether the current PM is the man to lead the party into what is sure to be a hotly contested election. 

Looking at the odds and it's clear to see that an earlier exit is now becoming more likely. Johnson to leave this calendar year is as low as 20/1 at some bookmakers when that was in the hundreds only weeks ago. That short a timescale seems unlikely though and a departure in 2022/23 looks more likely. He is as short as even money to leave next year and 2/1 to leave in 2023. The favourite is for him still to be in charge to 2024 or later but for the first time in months it is now an odds-against shot. 

Current Betfair Exchange Odds
Current Betfair Exchange Odds

So who could replace him as Conservative leader?

Rishi Sunak - 14/5

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.

Michael Gove - 8/1

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 8/1 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.

Liz Truss - 12/1

If you had asked me a few years ago about Liz Truss becoming the next prime minister and 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, which can be seen below, 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.

She's as short as 7/2 with William Hill but bet365 are way out at 12/1. Denise obviously isn't a fan! 

Jeremy Hunt - 16/1

'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 junior doctor strike.           

Priti Patel - 20/1

The home secretary is a divisive figure in British politics. Some see her as the strong woman of the Tory Party and the natural successor to Thatcher. She is, however, despised by the more left-leaning of society, in particular for her hardline attitudes towards asylum seekers and she has also faced historical charges of lying and bullying within her departments. This one looks unlikely right now.

We'll be keeping an eye on the political landscape and will be updating this page if we have any significant changes at the top of UK politics. 

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