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Betting on politics: markets devoted to Johnson and Hammond

Several interesting betting markets are speculating when Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond will leave their posts, says Matthew Partridge.

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Johnson and Hammond: when will they go?

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There are several interesting betting markets devoted to Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond. Ladbrokes are offering a reshuffle special: 4/5 (55.5%) on Boris being replaced this year, and evens (50%) on him seeing out 2017.They are also offering 2/1 (33%) on Hammond going and 2/1 (33%) on Jacob Rees-Mogg becoming a cabinet minister.

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I can't see Theresa May appointing Rees-Mogg. However, I believe that if they fire Boris then they will have to boot Hammond too in order to keep the peace in the party. I'd suggest that you bet on Boris surviving this year and Hammond being replaced in 2017 for combined odds of 83%.

While this may seem a bit strange, the idea is that you should win if both Hammond and Boris go this year, or neither go. Indeed, if Hammond goes, but Boris doesn't (which is possible but unlikely) then you'll make a 120% profit. In this case I'd put £6 on Boris not being replaced in 2017 and £4 on Hammond being sacked.

Ladbrokes is also running another market on the identity of the foreign secretary on New Year's Day. I think that if Boris does go he will be replaced with a prominent Brexiteer and I can't see Andrea Leadsom, Liam Fox or Priti Patel as foreign secretary.

I therefore that think that on 1 January 2018 the next foreign secretary will be either Boris (Evens), Michael Gove (12/1) or David Davis (25/1). This will give you combined odds of 63%. Out of a hypothetical £10 betting unit you should put £8.13 on Boris, £1.25 on Gove and £0.62 on Davis.

I know this seems to violate my rule of not making the same bet twice (since betting on Boris to survive the year is identical to betting that he will be foreign secretary on New Year's Day). However, I'm going to make an exception because they are parts of different bets.

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