How Long Will Boris Johnson Last as UK Prime Minister?

How Long Will Boris Johnson Last as UK Prime Minister?
© PA
Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party gained an 80-seat majority in the last General Election (© PA Images)

Boris Johnson has seen his chances of lasting out 2020 as prime minister of the UK take a serious hit since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

And as the UK begins to open up following a strict lockdown, it appears Johnson’s political reputation could well be staked on the success of avoiding a second wave.

Polling from YouGov recently showed Johnson’s government has the worst approval rating in the world for how it has handled the coronavirus crisis.

And while new Covid cases remain over 1,000 across the nation, the PM is pushing ahead with plans to get life back to normal.

Yet there is growing concern that should a second outbreak of the coronavirus hit the UK then those at the top of government may not last it out.

Boris Johnson Exit Date

Despite boasting an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons, betting data shows that pressure is mounting on Johnson himself.

A string of Conservative backbenchers have lambasted the leadership over its so-far confused attempts to return school children to classes, while the R rate – a measure of the average number of people a contaminated person will go on to infect – is perilously close to 1.

Bookmakers Unibet have seen their odds on Johnson leaving in 2020 come swiftly in from 5/1 at the start of the lockdown to a new price of 11/4. Other bookmakers are following suit, suggesting the odds are reflecting a trend in the opinion polls.

A Johnson exit in 2022 or later remains the favourite choice at 1/3 but these odds have drifted from 1/7 in February, hinting that the security of Johnson’s position has waned.

Who Could Replace Johnson?

For weeks chancellor Rishi Sunak has been tipped as the top choice to replace Johnson, should the 55-year-old either walk or be sacked this year.

Sunak masterminded the government’s furlough scheme, which currently has 8.9m workers under its protective wing.

However, tough times ahead are predicted for Sunak, with the chancellor knowing the chequebook cannot remain open indefinitely. A push to open the nation up and ‘get the economy moving again’ is what the 40-year-old is banking on, in order to eventually close the costly scheme.

And following that, Sunak must choose which financial route he wants to take the country down, with austerity a very real possibility.

Gove On The Horizon

Any cuts to spending could impact on Sunak’s popularity, meaning he is certainly no shoo-in to replace Johnson – especially the longer the incumbent holds on to power.

And the bookmakers are reflecting this uncertainty by narrowing the market on who could become the next Tory leader. William Hill drifted Sunak’s price from 2/1 to 3/1 within a month, while Michael Gove and Dominic Raab have seen their odds fall.

Indeed, Gove – who was one of the most vocal advocates of Johnson’s spin doctor Cummings during the latter’s controversial trip to Durham during lockdown – is seeing his stock rising.

From 12/1 a month ago to 8/1 now, Gove is in an increasingly good position to take over as leader, should Johnson exit the stage.

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