Next UK Minister To Leave Odds Swings To Gavin Williamson
UK bookmakers have slashed their odds on education secretary Gavin Williamson being the next minister to leave their post after another government U-turn to kick off 2021.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has largely stuck by his closest ministers during his 18 months in charge of the country, with very few dismissals of note.
That comes despite a tumultuous 2020 for the PM where the spread of coronavirus put strain on his top ministers to steady the ship in uncharted waters.
Now heading into the new year and with a Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out across the country, there is growing hope British politics can settle into some sense of normality over the coming months.
But that hasn’t stopped bookmakers chopping and changing their market on which cabinet minister will be sacked (or quit on their own accord) next.
Here, Gambling.com looks at the main contenders from within Johnson’s government who could get the boot next.
Gavin Williamson 3/1
Both Paddy Power and William Hill have slashed their odds on Williamson being kicked out of office next after a tumultuous New Year for the education secretary. Just days before Christmas schools were told to be Covid-ready for January so all children could return to in-class education. Even up to the eve of schools returning did Johnson and Williamson insist schools were safe – only to then U-turn and close schools across the country.
The turmoil had echoes of the summer exams fiasco, where Williamson had previously come under heavy scrutiny. And it caused Williamson’s odds to come in from 9/2, while Johnson’s press secretary said the PM believed his education secretary was working “to his utmost ability”.
Priti Patel 8/1
Johnson stood by his home secretary after Priti Patel was found to have broken the ministerial code of conduct during a bullying inquiry late last year. But Patel’s political longevity could rest on how she navigates the UK’s post-Brexit landscape. Crime and immigration will be high on the agenda in the coming months as the dust settles on the Brexit trade agreement. Patel’s odds have already widened from 11/2.
Matt Hancock 12/1
The minister under the most strain in 2020 was health secretary Matt Hancock, whose running of the NHS and Covid-19 response over the past 12 months is a task no one would have envied. Hancock cried on live television when the first coronavirus vaccine was administered and the 42-year-old will be desperately hoping the roll-out of over 100million jabs goes smoothly this winter. Yet as the UK’s Covid death toll continues to rise, time may be running out for Hancock.
Robert Jenrick 12/1
In a year dominated by public health tumult and education confusion, housing secretary Robert Jenrick still managed to hit the headlines over an apparent ‘cash-for-favours’ scandal. The minister is a regular appearance-maker on TV and radio, pushing the Johnson government message on whatever issue is required. But Jenrick faces pressure in 2021 to push forward the Tory government’s agenda on housing from the 2019 election manifesto, which pledges ‘at least’ a million new homes in the next five years.
Boris Johnson 12/1
Not immune to the sack himself, Johnson could well be out of a job by the end of the year. The fact Brexit was finally agreed at the eleventh hour seems to have saved his political capital for now, but his management of the Covid-19 pandemic has been heavily scrutinised. There were reports in the autumn than Johnson planned to quit by the middle of 2021, while he has kept the eurosceptics at bay for now. Theresa May was eventually ousted by her own Conservative MPs and another coup is unlikely – but that doesn’t mean Johnson won’t quit if, for example, Scotland votes for independence in the summer. Asked on the BBC recently if he will remain in charge after Brexit, the PM simply said: “Yes, yes.”
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