Rishi Sunak Favourite To Replace Boris Johnson As Prime Minister
Boris Johnson’s decision to reshuffle his cabinet this September has successfully prevented any of his closest political ministers from taking a step towards replacing him as prime minister.
Johnson conducted the first reshuffle of his prime ministership following Parliament’s summer recess but has largely kept the same big names around him in the cabinet.
Liz Truss was the big winner of the reshuffle as the trade secretary was bumped up to foreign secretary, replacing Dominic Raab, who was sacked following the UK’s disastrous withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in August.
Yet the likes of Rishi Sunak, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt remain among the top contenders to replace Johnson when the PM eventually leaves No 10.
Here, we look at the big movements in the UK politics betting data and analyse what could happen in the future now Johnson has a fresh cabinet to deal with…
Next Conservative Leader Betting
The betting data from the UK’s biggest bookmakers is all focused on who will be the next Tory leader when Johnson eventually leaves office. When that will be remains to be seen, as the PM has an 81-seat majority in the Commons, can rely on the staunch backing of his supporters, and has ridden out plenty of scandals over his premiership without it impacting on his polling numbers.
Rishi Sunak 2/1
The chancellor was never going to lose his job in the reshuffle and Sunak remains the heavy favourite at 2/1 to replace Johnson eventually. Sunak’s approval rating has dipped in recent months as the UK workforce is weaned off the furlough scheme, but more people like the chancellor than dislike him. He is almost certain to challenge for the Tory leadership when the time comes.
Michael Gove 5/1
Having been recently spotted raving in an Aberdeen nightclub, there were many who expected Gove to slip away from frontline politics at this reshuffle. But instead he was promoted to housing secretary in place of Robert Jenrick, and is also the newly-titled Secretary of State for Levelling Up. Gove has always been in the running to replace Johnson and could do so one day.
Liz Truss 7/1
Having once been a figure of fun for delivering a botched speech about cheese and pork markets at a Tory party conference, Truss is weaving her way up the Westminster ladder. She was tasked with securing post-Brexit trade deals for the UK and now must navigate the choppy waters of international politics on a much bigger scale. International terror threats, the climate crisis and shifts in power across the globe are now under her remit. Foreign secretary is certainly a good job to have before running for PM.
Jeremy Hunt 8/1
The former health secretary has plenty of supporters from the pre-Johnson era of Tory politics that includes ex-PM Theresa May and many other backbenchers. Hunt has been able to hold the government to account on COVID-19 more so than Labour over the past 18 months and at 8/1 his price accurately reflects an appetite within the Tory party to one-day leave the Johnsonian brand of politics behind.
There remains a band of Tories who could circle No 10 were Johnson to leave. Those include new health secretary Sajid Javid (14/1), home secretary Priti Patel (16/1) and Afghan war veteran Tom Tugendhat (25/1).
Interestingly, ex-defence secretary Penny Mordaunt (33/1) could see some movement soon. The 48-year-old was considered badly done by, when Johnson sacked her in July 2019 – a move largely considered disastrous. Mordaunt was made a trade minister in the 2021 reshuffle and may replace Anne-Marie Trevelyan – the new trade secretary following Truss’ promotion – in the near future.
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