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

Luke Dray 2018 Tel: +447542787945 lukedray226@hotmail.co.uk

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.

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.

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.

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.

Recommended

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Just how green is nuclear power?
Energy

Just how green is nuclear power?

Nuclear power is certainly very clean in terms of carbon emissions, but what about the radioactive waste produced as a byproduct? It’s not as much of …
22 Jan 2022
Inflation: now we really have something to worry about
Inflation

Inflation: now we really have something to worry about

We’ve been worrying about a sharp rise in inflation for years, says Merryn Somerset Webb – now, we finally have something to worry about.
21 Jan 2022
UK inflation is at a 30-year high and it hasn’t peaked yet
Inflation

UK inflation is at a 30-year high and it hasn’t peaked yet

UK inflation has hit 5.4% - its highest in 30 years. And it could be heading higher. John Stepek explains what it means for you and your money.
19 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now
Share tips

Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now

Professional investor Fay Ren of the Cerno Pacific Fund highlights three of her favourite Asian stocks to buy now
24 Jan 2022
Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is
Inflation

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is

As inflation bites and the labour market remains tight, many of the nation's employees are asking for a pay rise. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why yo…
17 Jan 2022