Betting on politics: Will Boris get the boot?
Matthew Partridge weighs the odds on the gaffe-prone foreign secretary finally getting his marching orders.
This year's Tory party conference demonstrates why Boris Johnson is both loved and loathed in equal measure. Only hours after his well-received speech, he made an ugly gaffe at a fringe event about Libya's Sirte becoming the next Dubai after they "clear the dead bodies away".
While Johnson tried to get out of it by claiming that the reference was to dead terrorists, it was criticised by many Conservatives, with some calling for him to be sacked as foreign secretary.
So it should come as no surprise that several markets are betting on his demise. William Hill's odds on him leaving the Foreign & Commonwealth Office this year are 6/4 (40%). Paddy Power is offering 6/4 (40%) on him leaving in 2018, 4/1 (20%) on him departing in 2019 and 6/1 (14.2%) on 2020 or later. You can also get 6/4 (40%) on Theresa May sacking him before 1 October 2018. In addition, Ladbrokes is offering 2/1 (33%) on him being the next minister to leave the cabinet.
However, the most interesting market is the one on who will be the next leader. Johnson is the favourite, although it seems to be a pretty open field, with lesser-known bookie Sporting Bet offering odds as long as 6/1 (14.2%). This seems pretty good value for someone who currently tops surveys of Conservative party members.
However, I'd recommend that you take advantage of the fact that it is possible to get a near-even money bet on the six most plausible candidates.
I'd advocate putting money on Boris at (6/1) with Sporting Bet, and then combining it with a stake on David Davis at (15/2) with Paddy Power, and Amber Rudd (10/1), Phil Hammond (12/1), Damian Green (25/1) and Sajid Javid (28/1), all with Betfred. This gives you combined odds of 50.8%. This should result in a £10 betting unit being split in the following ways: Johnson £2.81, Davis £2.31, Rudd £1.79, Hammond £1.64, Green £0.76, and Javid £0.68.