How Long Will Boris Johnson Last as UK Prime Minister?
Boris Johnson’s popularity is worsening as the PM prepares to set out his coronavirus strategy for the winter months ahead – yet his chances of being ousted as UK prime minister have not budged.
Johnson has endured a tumultuous summer since the heady days of the Tories winning the Hartlepool by-election, and harder times are expected ahead for the party leader.
With Covid-19 rates remaining high and hospitalisations beginning once again to rise, there are fears the UK isn’t prepared for another winter wave despite the success of the vaccine drive.
Booster jabs are expected to be offered to the elderly and even the majority of adults, while concerns over children missing out on more valuable hours of teaching have rumbled on into the new school year.
And on the international stage the UK has been heavily criticised for its withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan that led to the Taliban regaining control of the country after two decades of war.
All the while Johnson is supposedly weighing up a reshuffle ahead of the Tory party conference in October.
Johnson Odds Hold Firm
Yet while Johnson’s popularity ratings have sunk to 35% – close to his lowest ever approval rating which came when he took power from Theresa May in July 2019 – his odds of remaining in charge at No 10 have not shifted.
According to the top UK bookmakers, Johnson is still 7/2 to leave his post at some point between now and the end of 2022. That suggests an implied probability of 22%, which is an 8% increase from the price bookies were offering on Johnson to be ousted within two years back in May.
The lack of movement in the betting markets despite the change in Johnson’s popularity indicates that punters are confident that the PM will be able to ride out the impending winter storm.
The 57-year-old has always been a divisive figure. His campaign to ‘Get Brexit Done’ in the 2019 general election secured the Tories an 80-seat majority but even after subsequent failures over the post-Brexit deal with the EU, his staunchest supporters back him.
Who Could Replace Boris?
As for who is in position to replace Johnson, chancellor Rishi Sunak remains the favourite at 2/1 with most bookies. Suggestions of an occasional rift in Downing Street is nothing new, but Sunak looks in pole position to step into Johnson’s shoes eventually.
Indeed, part of Sunak’s low price is the fact that very few front-bench Tories appear to be in any sort of position to rival the chancellor. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has endured a political catastrophe over the Afghanistan withdrawal, while home secretary Priti Patel’s odds just keep widening.
Health secretary Sajid Javid faces heavy scrutiny as we head towards winter, while Michael Gove was last spotted raving at an Aberdeen nightclub.
Saying that, Gove’s jaunt at the Bohemia club – where he was reportedly spotted dancing to “an unpredictable mix of the most high-energy UK and global club music scenes” – has actually helped his cause. Gove’s new odds on replacing Boris have fallen from 7/1 to 5/1 to put him behind Sunak as the second favourite.
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