Betting on politics: the odds on Keir Starmer leaving

Labour's recent by-election win has eased the pressure on Kier Starmer. But there's still plenty of action in the betting markets, as Matthew Partridge reports.

Kier Starmer
(Image credit: © Getty Images)

Labour’s victory in Batley and Spen last week has eased pressure on Keir Starmer’s leadership, which had previously been called into question. With £1,866 matched on Smarkets, the odds on him leaving in 2021 have lengthened from as short as three (33.3%) to seven (14.2%). Punters still think his stay as leader is likely to be relatively short, however: you can get 4.1 (24.3%) on him departing in 2022 and 3.9 (25.6%) in 2023. Indeed, the odds on him surviving to 2025 are still a relatively long 5.3 (18.7%).

Interestingly, Smarkets also runs a separate market on whether Starmer (pictured) will survive to the start of 2024. In that case they put the odds of a departure by the end of 2023 at 1.77 (56.4%), which is slightly better than the combined odds of a departure in 2021, 2022 or 2023, which work out at 64.3. I don’t think that he will go this year, but after that much will depend on the timing and outcome of the next election, so I’d hold off betting for now.

One thing that is more certain is that Starmer is unlikely to make major changes to the most senior shadow cabinet roles in the next few months – he will want to avoid upsetting any faction within the Labour Party. I therefore suggest that you bet that the shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, will still be in place by the end of the year at 1.37 (72.9%), and that Rachel Reeves will still be shadow chancellor at 1.11 (90.9%).

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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