Betting on politics: Question Time's next chair

Matthew Partridge looks at who is most likely to take over presenting duties when David Dimbleby steps down from the current-affairs programme.


Kirsty Wark: in pole position
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Having focused on the United States mid-term elections for the last few weeks, we're going to move back to the UK this week. David Dimbleby is due to step down as the chair of the BBC television current-affairs programme Question Time this year and Ladbrokes are running a market on his successor.

In pole position is Kirsty Wark at 4/1 (20%). Next is Emily Maitlis at 5/1 (16.7%) followed by Emma Barnett at 6/1 (14.2%), Kirsty Young at 8/1 (11.1%) and Evan Davis at 10/1 (9.1%). Beyond this, Ladbrokes is offering prices on a range of other contenders, ranging from Mishal Husain at 10/1 to Nigel Farage at 500/1.

As the main presenter for Newsnight, Wark certainly has the experience and credentials for the job, and her chances seem better than the odds on offer. Maitlis also has a very strong reputation, so I'd bet on her as well. In terms of the outsiders, Huw Edwards is a well-known name, and has been looking to take over from Dimbleby for some time, which makes the 20/1 that Ladbrokes are offering seem generous. Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil would also be a bold choice if the BBC wanted to pick someone with wider experience and is priced as 16/1.

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Overall, I'd suggest that you bet on Wark, Maitlis, Edwards and Neil for combined odds of 47.3%. In this case, I'd suggest splitting a hypothetical £10 betting unit to have £4.23 on Wark, £3.52 on Maitlis, £1.01 on Edwards and £1.24 on Neil.

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