Punters smell Boris’ blood but remain cold on exit method & weak successors 

Trading teams report on a roller-coaster 24-hours repricing UK political markets, as once again Boris Johnson’s future as PM is on the brink of a total collapse.

Peak betting activity was triggered yesterday afternoon, as news broke of the double whammy of senior resignations led by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who was quickly followed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. 

Handing in their notices, Javid and Sunak cited fundamental differences in policy and conduct as to how PM Johnson had run the government.  

However, as Betfair’s Sam Rosbottom reports, markets have yet to settle as further resignations mount, shortening public confidence in Johnson’s future as PM. 

Sam Rosbottom – Betfair

Rosbottom, Betfair’s political spokesman, told SBC: “The past 24 hours has seen one of the biggest shifts to date on the market, with 2022 as the year of his departure from Number 10 being backed into 1/7 from 4/1 after the vote of confidence.”

As a bruised and battered PM lays on the ropes, Betfair cites that punters’ focus has shifted as to how Johnson will leave office – forced to resign, kicked out by his Party or rolling the dice by calling a General Election.

“As things stand, punters don’t see a General Election happening any time soon. A snap election to be called this year looks unlikely at odds of 9/1, while an election next year has a better chance, but still looks unrealistic at 4/1.” – Rosbottom added.

“The most likely outcome is that the UK won’t be going to the polls until 2024 or later, which is currently odds on at 4/11.”

Dark clouds are gathering once again over Johnson’s premiership. However, punters are reminded that the PM has survived all manner of scandals since taking office in 2019.

No stranger to Party fallouts, a so far ‘bullet-proof Pfeffel’ could well survive another period of scandalous headlines and senior cabinet rifts.

Mirroring Betfair, Smarkets politics noted that a “tumultuous day in Westminster saw the odds of Boris Johnson being ousted as Prime Minister in 2022 rise from 37% to 85% on the Smarkets betting exchange.”

Though punters are wagering on Johnson leaving office, reality bites at the dearth of Conservative MPs capable of replacing him as Party Leader.

This is reflected by Smarkets surprise inclusion that Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt (16%) “is now favourite to replace Johnson as Tory leader, closely followed by Sunak whose prospects rose from 10% to 14% on the news of his resignation from the cabinet”.

SBC News Punters smell Boris’ blood but remain cold on exit method & weak successors 
Matt Shaddick – Smarkets

As Smarkets Head of Politics, Matt Shaddick observed: “Boris Johnson is hanging on for now, but the latest odds give him just a 15% chance of surviving to the end of the year

“Speculation on his successor as Tory leader went into overdrive with Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid both seeing their odds improve as soon as their resignations were announced. However, Penny Mordaunt has emerged as the favourite with a 16% chance based on the latest prices at Smarkets.”

The head boy of a divided government, Johnson still holds the support of several high-profile peers and is viewed as the best campaigner of a split party – despite the challenge of contenders.

Could a cabal of side-lined Tory MPs be brave enough to call for a change of rules to the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee and force another vote of confidence in Johnson  – an outcome Smarkets has priced at 1.85 (54%) taking place this year.

“Bettors now think that it is more likely than not that Johnson will face another no-confidence vote this year, with the odds rising from 27% to 55% during the day. There was also a spike in the odds of a general election this year, with the likelihood doubling from 7% to 14%.

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