Another day, another scandal
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership of the Conservative party has been in question for some time. The ‘Partygate’ scandal has already caused national outrage this year, but it is another more recent incident that may have tolled the death knell for his career – so much so that sportsbooks have slashed the odds for his resignation.
Tamworth MP Chris Pincher resigned last week following claims that he groped two men at a private members’ club. Despite initially denying that he had any prior knowledge of the allegations, Johnson later admitted that he had known about the complaint in 2019 and proceeded to appoint him into a government role regardless.
the last straw for two Johnson loyalists
Sick of defending their leader’s actions, the scandal proved the last straw for two Johnson loyalists. Chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid both stepped down yesterday afternoon. In his resignation letter, Javid damningly noted that the British people “expect integrity from their government.”
The PM’s position already seemed perilous, but these resignations have caused sportsbooks to slash the odds of him resigning in 2022. Paddy Power has him at -1000 to resign this year, implying a resignation probability of 91%.
A closer look at the odds
In a similar fashion to Paddy Power, Ladbrokes dropped its Johnson resignation odds from +150 last week to -800 today. Whether he will actually step down or not is another question entirely. Some Twitter users are understandably skeptical that the PM will go:
He has certainly faced plenty of bumps along the road throughout his PM tenure without resigning, not least the investigation into ‘Partygate’ which saw the Met Police issue fines to 83 individuals, including Johnson. Still, the PM remained in power.
If the PM is able to hold onto his position until 2023 or later, sportsbooks have offered much longer odds. Paddy Power is offering +700 for Johnson to leave in 2023 and +900 for 2024 or later. Importantly, the next General Election will take place in May 2024 if Johnson manages to serve his full five-year term as PM. Two-thirds of MPs can trigger an early election through a vote.
Who could take his place?
With Johnson’s Downing Street residency looking more strained than ever, there are plenty of MPs who are most likely itching to take his place. Their odds have also shifted significantly in the wake of the Sunak and Javid departures.
Mordaunt is the odds-on favorite at +500
Without an early General Election, Johnson’s replacement will have to come from his own party. For most sportsbooks, Penny Mordaunt is the odds-on favorite at +500 with Bet365. She is the current minister of state for trade policy and is seen by many Tory members as a good candidate to unify the party.
Even though they have just handed in their resignations, Sunak and Javid are also high up the rankings. In fact, William Hill has Sunak as more likely than Mordaunt to replace Johnson at +400. Meanwhile, Javid is priced at +800 to take the hot seat. Liz Truss, Ben Wallace, and Jeremy Hunt are all in the mix too.
Outside of the Conservative party, Labour leader Keir Starmer stands a chance of taking the PM role if Johnson’s exit prompts an early election. This is an outside shot, however, with Betfair pricing the opposition leader at odds of +1400.