How Long Will Rishi Sunak Last As UK Prime Minister?
UK bookmakers expect Rishi Sunak to survive any mutiny from within the Conservative ranks but aren’t sure he will win the next UK election.
The UK prime minister has overseen a tumultuous first 100 days in charge of the country and his party.
The country is groaning under a cost of living crisis, fuel bills and inflation are spiralling, and there appears no end to the war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Sunak’s delayed decision to sack Nadhim Zahawi over his tax affairs has marred a number of headline-grabbing policies - including investing more than a £1bn in emergency funding into the NHS.
Labour are painting Sunak as weak, having mocked the prime minister for not sacking Gavin Williamson in the autumn, and for reinstating Suella Braverman to the cabinet.
The PM has already expended plenty of political capital during his first three months in charge - and there are calls from Tory MPs for him to up his game.
The mounting pressure has led to mild speculation that the Tories could once again seek to oust their leader and install a new figure before the 2024 UK election.
The ‘ghost of Boris Johnson’ looms, but the bookies don’t think that will happen.
Rishi Sunak Odds
According to political betting sites, Sunak is unlikely to be axed in 2023. Those odds currently sit around 3/1, which carries a 25% probability.
What’s more likely is that Sunak will be gone when voters head to the polls in 2024.
Right now, the odds sit at Evens (50% chance) with Betfair and they haven’t budged for a good while.
This is of concern for Sunak, and he has around 18 months to slash Labour’s 23-point polling lead that has held steady ever since Liz Truss crashed the economy in October.
His plan to tackle inflation and bring down borrowing had been to raise taxes and slash spending - but the usually-supportive right-wing press aren’t keen on this.
Added to this the spiralling costs of energy, inflation rumbling along at a 40-year high and the realities of Brexit pinching the economy, and Sunak has a near-impossible puzzle to solve.
Can Sunak Win The Election?
But there are potential signs of hope for the PM. As a former chancellor he’s based his reputation on handling economic matters, and if he can get these levers under control then natural Tory voters will swing back to support him.
Sunak is also happily entrenched in the Conservative anti-immigration rhetoric and has sought to look strong when facing up against striking unions.
However, the fact most UK voters back the strikes means he may have to cede power here before long.
One area where Sunak could reclaim ground on Labour is at the local elections this May.
The Tories lost 500 council seats under Johnson last year, but a few big wins here could swing public opinion back in favour of the government.
From there, the PM has a year to set out his vision for the future and convince voters - particularly across the Red Wall - that the promises offered in the 2019 Tory manifesto will be fulfilled.
All the while Sir Keir Starmer is keeping Labour’s powder dry. The strategy is to paint the government as sleaze-ridden and out of touch.
Starmer has also been courting influential business leaders and offering Labour’s alternative stance on running the economy.
Having a 23-point lead is a rarity for the opposition party, but Labour cannot rest on this. The odds on betting apps don’t yet reflect the polls, as they expect the Conservatives to regain lost ground.
The next UK general election in 2024 is shaping up to be a big one, and it’s Labour’s to lose.
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