Betting on politics: Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister

Jeremy Corbyn may be having a good year as Labour leader, but could he lead the country?


Most people still can't Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister
(Image credit: 2017 Getty Images)

Jeremy Corbyn has had a turbulent year. Defeat in February's Copeland by-election seemed to have vindicated his critics and opened a door to a possible leadership challenge.Then, when Theresa May called an election in April, it looked as though Labour would go down to a landslide defeat. Even after Labour started to bounce back in the polls, people were still taking bets on whether Corbyn would still be leader the day after the election.

After that came election night and the shock result that saw Labour gain seats, denying the Conservatives a majority. Despite the fact that Labour had ended up with fewerseats than it did in 1992, people started to talk about when, not if, he would be prime minister.

Even today, he looks likely to end the year on a high, with even deputy Labour leader Tom Watson joining in a chorus of "Oh Jeremy Corbyn". Meanwhile, Labour leads the Conservatives in opinion polls.

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However, if you look beyond the headline figures you'll find that Theresa May still beats Corbyn in terms of who people see as the best prime minister (37% versus 29%). It's likely that when the Conservatives do go to the country they will do so with a new leader, who may be enjoying a honeymoon phase. There's also the small matter of the fact that Corbyn is much less enthusiastic about a soft Brexit than the majority of the LabourParty membership.

I'd therefore recommend that you desist from betting on him to be the next prime minister. Instead, I'm going to recommend that you assume he will remain Labour leader until at least 2019. Specifically, you should take Ladbrokes' odds of 3/1 (25%) on him departing in 2019 and 10/11 (52.4%) on 2020 and beyond, for combined odds of 77.4%. This means that you should put £6.77 of a hypothetical £10 on 2020+ and £3.23 on 2019.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri