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UK Politics: Can Boris survive this one? We look at the odds

UK Politics: Can Boris survive this one? Exit nears...
UK Politics: Can Boris survive this one? Exit nears...

After our recent article a few months ago about Boris Johnson's bizarre speech at the CBI we didn't think it could get much worse for the PM. The Conservative Party since then: Hold my beer...

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.

Well, well, well. After a week of firmly denying it ever happened we have conclusive proof that the Conservative Party DID in fact hold another Party( the eleventh), on May 20th in 2020 at No 10 Downing Street whilst the rest of us were in full lockdown and people couldn't even visit their dying loved ones. Boris Johnson has finally admitted he attended the party and has apologised (sort of....).

Let's just say the optics don't look the best.

Members of Parliament have joined the general public in demanding resignations at the highest levels. Even former Tory party Chair, Baroness Warsi has joined the outraged calls for someone to pay the price. Could it be that we see the top guy finally forced out either by his own party or at the next General Election.

We have taken a good look at all the relevant markets for any movement on BoJo's exit date and who will be in line to replace him should he go.

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 story hit the Conservatives hard in the polls, with some pollsters having Labour in a slight lead, the No.10 Christmas party scandal only strengthened doubts over whether the current PM is the man to lead the party and the current May BYOB garden party scandal looks like the final straw. Labour now lead by almost 10 points in some polls. 

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 4/6.  He is 5/1 to leave in 2023 and 5/2 to hang on till 2024

Current Betfair exchange odds on Johnson to leave
Current Betfair exchange odds on Johnson to leave
Exchange odds only two months ago
Exchange odds only two months ago

So who could replace him as Conservative leader?

Rishi Sunak - 9/4

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 - 4/1

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, 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 - 9/1

'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.     

Michael Gove - 11/1

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 11/1 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.

Priti Patel - 26/1

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.

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