Advertisement
Features

What are the bookies’ odds on the new Tory leader?

After nearly three years in office, Theresa May is set to stand down. Here, Matthew Partridge looks at who the bookies favour as the new Tory leader.

190524-new-tory-leader
Boris Johnson: bookies' favourite

After nearly three years in office, Theresa May is set to stand down as Conservative party leader on 7 June but who do the bookies and betting exchanges expect to replace her?

Already, £1.14m has been wagered on Betfair on the identity of the next Tory leader and, despite the large number of candidates, the clear favourite is the former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson. Betfair is now quoting digital odds of 1.93, which works out at an implied 51.8% chance.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The traditional bookies feel the same way Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred are all offering 8/11 (57.9%), though the best odds on him are 10/11 (52.3%) with Boyle Sports.

Boris' main rival seems to be Dominic Raab, who was Brexit secretary between July and November 2018. Betfair has him in second place at 6.8 a 14.7% chance. However, all the other potential candidates are quoted at relatively long odds, reflecting the uncertainty in the process.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, is in third place at 13.5 (7.4%), with Jeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary, right behind him at 16 (6.25%). Andrea Leadsom, who recently resigned from the Cabinet, is at 22, while the recently appointed defence secretary, Rory Stewart, is at 24.

Having made some tips two years ago as to the identity of both the next prime minister and the next Conservative leader, I'm going to stick to my rule about never betting on the same contest twice.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Still, I would note that the Conservatives have a reputation for not picking the candidate who starts out as the favourite. The classic example is 1975, when everyone thought that Ted Heath would easily see off a leadership challenge from Margaret Thatcher, and that William Whitelaw was the natural successor. Similarly, few predicted that John Major would become prime minister in 1990.

William Hague's rise in 1997, meanwhile, owed a lot to the implosion of Michael Howard's campaign, while Howard repeatedly ruled out being Conservative leader, before he took over from Iain Duncan Smith in 2003. David Davis, not David Cameron, was the favourite in 2005, while Boris Johnson knows all too well what happened in 2016.

Of course, this time could well be different, as there is a strong sense that the Conservatives need to pick a Leave campaigner. Even some of the most vocal anti-Johnson Conservatives seem to have made peace with him. However, if the past three years in politics has taught us anything it's this always expect the unexpected.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Brexit begins: what do the UK and the EU want from a trade deal?
Brexit

Brexit begins: what do the UK and the EU want from a trade deal?

With Brexit now done, the trade talks can begin. But who wants what from a UK/EU trade deal, and how likely are they to get it?
3 Feb 2020
How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Another Brexit delay – so what happens now?
Economy

Another Brexit delay – so what happens now?

Last week’s excitement over a Brexit deal getting done proved to be premature. John Stepek looks at where we are now, and what it means for your money…
21 Oct 2019
Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly
Economy

Beyond the Brexit talk, the British economy isn’t doing too badly

The political Brexit pantomime aside, Britain is in pretty good shape. With near-record employment, strong wage growth and modest inflation, there is …
17 Oct 2019

Most Popular

BP has slashed its dividend – and markets love it
Income investing

BP has slashed its dividend – and markets love it

BP has bowed to the inevitable and cut its dividend in half – and its share price promptly rose. John Stepek explains what it means for shareholders …
4 Aug 2020
Listed companies are dying out, and that could have serious consequences
Stockmarkets

Listed companies are dying out, and that could have serious consequences

Private equity is taking over from public stockmarkets as the biggest provider of capital to companies. That’s bad for investors and bad for society a…
3 Aug 2020
Gold hits the big $2,000 level – are Aim miners about to play catch up?
Gold

Gold hits the big $2,000 level – are Aim miners about to play catch up?

With the price of gold shooting through $2,000 an ounce, the yellow metal looks unstoppable. Things are so bullish, even Aim-listed junior gold miners…
5 Aug 2020