Next UK Prime Minister Odds: Liz Truss Leading The Race Over Rishi Sunak To Be Next PM
Betting sites believe Liz Truss just needs to avoid any gaffes in the final two weeks of her Conservative leadership campaign and she will become the UK’s next prime minister.
Foreign secretary Truss is currently the overwhelming favourite in both the polls and politics betting market to beat Rishi Sunak to the top job.
The darling of the Conservatives’ populist wing, Truss appears to have won the support of the majority of Tory members who are voting on who will replace Johnson come September.
Around 200,000 members have been sent ballot papers to choose between Truss and her rival Sunak, who was once the red-hot favourite to succeed Johnson before crashing out of favour with voters.
Johnson - who has enjoyed two summer holidays since confirming he will resign, despite the UK being plunged into an economic crisis over fuel costs and spiralling inflation - has refused to back either candidate.
The PM has also backed away from suggestions he should contest the leadership again.
Instead, removal vans have already carted away his and his family’s personal belongings from Downing Street – including, supposedly, the £840-a-roll gold wallpaper. Johnson will step down come September, bookmakers are sure, and what they’re also confident in is Truss replacing him.
Indeed, Truss is now as short as 1/16 with some betting apps to secure the top job. Those odds have come in from 1/9 just a week earlier, which is proof that Sunak’s scrambling campaign is failing to land significant blows.
With every day that passes, more Tory members are sending in their ballot papers - and Sunak’s odds just keep getting wider. He is now 10/1 to win this leadership contest – a price that suggests just an 9.1% likelihood.
Why Sunak has failed so miserably to inspire the backing of Tory members is up for debate. Many see him as the architect of Johnson’s downfall and it was his decision to quit as chancellor that caused the cabinet to turn with him.
Others see Truss as the natural successor to Johnson – a populist figure willing to tow the hard Brexit playbook of the European Research Group, someone who will boldly stand up against the EU regardless of context.
Sunak, while a Brexiteer, is considered closer to the centre ground. The polls say he is more likely to win the Tories a general election. But he’s nowhere near close to winning this leadership contest.
What Happened To Boris Johnson?
Boris Johnson confirmed that he would step down as party leader on Thursday 7 July. His premiership began three years ago with the ousting of Theresa May in a coup he and Michael Gove instigated.
Johnson won an 80-seat majority at a snap general election in December 2019, but just months later he was in hospital fighting for his life against Covid-19.
It was only in the autumn of 2021 that revelations about partying inside No 10 during Covid-19 lockdown came to light.
After that, scandal after scandal fell at the PM’s door. But the final major allegation - that he pretended not to know about Pincher’s history of sexual assault allegations when he promoted him to deputy chief whip in February - led to a remarkable climbdown and admission he “forgot” about it.
That was enough for Tory MPs who had backed him in a June confidence vote to now turn against him. Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid quit, before the cards swiftly tumbled down behind them.
Johnson has insisted he stay on as acting PM until a new party leader is found. That means he will steer the No 10 ship during parliament’s summer recess, even though he has no power to pass meaningful legislation, and it remains to be seen what Johnson will do next.
Labour attempted to topple Johnson and force a snap election - but that move was blocked by the Tories.
How Is A New Prime Minister Chosen?
Unlike during an election, the nation will not choose the next prime minister. That’s because the UK operates under a constitutional monarchy, where the head of the country is still the Queen.
The prime minister is simply the leader of the party that has a majority in government. They are not a president like those seen in the United States or France, although increasingly the PM is treated as one.
Johnson argued that he had a mandate to rule as PM because of the 2019 election victory. That doesn’t wash with the Tories, however, who know the party always comes before the leader.
A new leader will now be chosen from Sunak and Truss. They are the final two candidates remaining after five voting stages whittled down the numbers from an initial eight and political betting sites have odds at the ready.
The likes of Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat ran the final two close, but were eliminated from votes cast by fellow Tory MPs.
There were allegations some Sunak supporters, confident their man would make the final two, switched their votes from him to Truss, in order to prevent Mordaunt from getting through.
Now there are two candidates left and the 200,000 Conservative members will decide their next leader. Each member will be able to cast their vote - and are able to change their minds up until the end-of-summer deadline.
Whoever wins this vote becomes the next Tory leader, and therefore the next prime minister. That should be resolved by 6 September when Parliament reconvenes after the summer recess.
In 2019 Johnson beat Hunt by a two-thirds majority to win the party leadership contest, as Theresa May stepped down. Three years earlier, May herself was the last person standing in a leadership battle to succeed David Cameron, and became prime minister without even Tory members casting their ballots.
Who Will Replace Boris Johnson?
The scramble began in early July when Sunak and other cabinet colleagues quit on Johnson in a remarkable U-turn against the PM. Sunak - the initial favourite - was neck-and-neck in the odds with Mordaunt.
But over the proceeding days Truss has emerged as the most likely candidate to win the Tory leadership. And that has to do with the makeup of the Conservative membership, rather than national approval ratings.
Here, we look at the final two candidates scrapping it out to replace Boris Johnson.
The ex-chancellor was once 2/1 to be the next UK prime minister. But since revelations of his tax affairs became public, he’s become less popular among the British public.
Sunak is also unpopular with Johnson-supporting Tories, who see him as the instigator of the coup to topple their dear leader.
The speed at which he deployed his ‘Ready For Rishi!’ campaign after Johnson’s resignation suggested Sunak had been plotting this assault on No 10 for some time.
The problem for the mega-rich politician is he doesn’t poll well with Tory members. In fact, Truss has a healthy lead here, and it’s these members who decide who becomes the next PM.
Sunak’s odds floated as far out as 10/1 when he refused to offer tax cuts in his mini manifesto to party members.
He berated Truss for “£30bn of unfunded tax cuts” but that didn’t float with voters. Sunak has since pledged to reduce the first income tax bracket from 20% to 16%.
And while that won him a few more votes, his odds at bet365 only shrunk to 13/2 before expanding back out to 7/1. A week later and those odds have widened further to 10/1.
Sunak has gone hard on Truss during hustings outside of traditional Tory heartlands. But he also told voters in affluent Tunbridge Wells that he purposely took money out of deprived urban areas to channel into rural regions. That hasn’t gone down well with the general public.
The former chancellor simply isn’t making the ground he needs right now to win this contest. And time is running out.
This is now Truss’ campaign to lose. She has styled herself on Margaret Thatcher and secured the backing of Brexiteers desperate to maintain the populist approach to government that Johnson flourished in.
She recently extended her lead over Sunak among party members. But the problem for Truss is she doesn’t poll well with the electorate.
Sunak has practically bullied her during live debates - which actually put people off the former chancellor - and Truss has had to sensationally U-turn on plans to slash public sector pay, including for NHS workers, outside of London.
So much for levelling up, and Truss reversed her policy within 24 hours. But it hasn’t impacted her odds on being the next PM as she sits at 1/16 with William Hill.
Truss is still the evident frontrunner and ballot papers have already been sent out to voters. That means she’s already likely to be hoovering up the early votes.
But what could come to bite Truss is if there remains inactivity around energy bills. She has refused to support people over their rising fuel costs, having previously claimed these “handouts” were not part of her economic plan. That may appeal to well-off Tory members, but it would be a tough sell in an election situation against Labour.
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