Rishi Sunak Favourite To Replace Boris Johnson As Prime Minister
Rishi Sunak remains the heavy favourite to be the next UK prime minister after Boris Johnson despite his name being dragged into the Greensill 'scandal' that has engulfed Westminster.
Parliament is currently undertaking an inquiry into government lobbying following reports ex-PM David Cameron messaged chancellor Sunak “multiple times” last year for help in granting Greensill Capital the largest possible allocation of government-backed loans under the Covid corporate financing facility (CCFF).
While Cameron denies he has done anything wrong, the situation has cast a light into the relationship between ministers and big business.
It has since emerged that Bill Crothers, the government’s chief commercial officer, began working as an adviser for Greensill Capital in 2015. Lex Greensill even had a No 10 business card describing him as a senior adviser.
Yet despite a number of Cameron-era figures being dragged into the furore, it appears as though Sunak has managed to ride out the political turmoil.
Sunak Favourite For PM
According to bookmakers 888, Sunak is the 2/1 favourite to be the person who replaces Johnson as UK prime minister. His odds have continued to tumble throughout the coronavirus pandemic – due in large part for the furlough scheme that has helped protect workers’ wages for the past year.
Remarkably, Sunak is ahead of Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer (7/2) in the race to No 10, while Michael Gove – the Tory cabinet minister who lost to Johnson in the contest to replace Theresa May in 2019 – lingers out at 7/1.
That is not to say Sunak is on course to move from No 11 Downing Street into his neighbour’s house. The chancellor is likely to face a wave of scrutiny once the furlough scheme ends and the UK inevitably slides into recession, with unemployment rates expected to rise.
What’s more, how the UK navigates global trade outside of the EU remains to be seen. Johnson is hoping to land a trade deal with India.
Other Candidates To Replace Johnson
When Johnson will leave his post as PM remains to be seen, although he appears bullishly ready to stick it out in No 10 and head into the next general election.
A number of cabinet ministers are in contention were there to be a leadership battle, however. Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has remained around the 9/1 mark, with his position as an experienced back bencher meaning he has some flexibility in scrutinising the government.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab is priced between 14/1 and 20/1 depending on the bookmaker, while home secretary Priti Patel is 25/1 to replace Johnson. Trade secretary Liz Truss, meanwhile, is riding a wave of popularity amongst Tory voters yet remains some way out at 25/1 too.
As for Sunak, his most pressing hurdle is coming through the Greensill inquiry with his reputation still intact.
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