Scotland Rally Does Little To Aid Rishi Sunak’s Faltering Odds

Scotland Rally Does Little To Aid Rishi Sunak’s Faltering Odds
© PA
Nationalist demonstrators 'welcome' Rishi Sunak during a visit to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Scotland

Rishi Sunak is the latest Conservative MP to head to Scotland in an effort to stave off growing calls for a second independence referendum.

And his trip north of the border could not have come at a better time personally after a tough month for the Chancellor.

Sunak toured Scotland on Friday, where he made the political and economic case for maintaining the Union.

He is the second high-profile Tory to visit Scotland and argue against independence this summer after prime minister Boris Johnson popped up in Orkney in July.

"I don't think now is the time to be talking about these constitutional questions,” Sunak said.

"I think everyone's sole focus and certainly my sole focus right now is doing what we can to protect peoples' jobs and their livelihoods at what is an incredibly difficult time for our economy.”

Sunak’s trip comes amid increasing noise from the Scottish National Party that IndyRef 2 could be around the corner.

Scottish Independence Betting Swings

Indeed, a Yes result to a second independence referendum is now the most likely outcome, suggests fresh polling done over the summer.

Meanwhile, the latest politics betting trends show the drifting odds on a Yes outcome have now frozen, and could begin to come in.

Johnson’s trip appeared to have made little difference to sentiments in Scotland and the SNP are gunning for another landslide victory in the Scottish Parliament elections next summer.

So will Sunak make a difference?

Sunak Odds Take A Dive

The Chancellor is hoping his argument that Westminster put millions of Scottish workers onto the furlough scheme will buy his party some capital.

And he may also have an eye on his own popularity ratings, which have hit a slide in recent weeks.

Sunak remains the favourite to replace Boris Johnson among top UK bookmakers and his odds came in as close as 2/1 to be the next Tory leader when coronavirus cases started falling in June.

But since then the government’s struggles to get people back to work and the decision to end the furlough scheme in October have not proved popular.

Bookmakers Unibet now have the Chancellor at 11/4 to replace Johnson, with fellow cabinet minister Michael Gove once again swirling.

Gove Shifts Again

Gove, who unsuccessfully ran for the Tory leadership last summer, is never far out of the picture.

The former Education Minister has remained behind Sunak as the second favourite to replace Johnson for 12 months now.

And when Sunak’s odds widen, Gove’s come in. He is now back to 8/1 to replace Johnson, having seen his price inflate to 16/1 when Sunak was enjoying his heyday earlier this summer.

Whether either man will get the chance to replace the PM remains to be seen, with Johnson keen to create a legacy.

But should Scotland secure independence then there may well be a vacancy at the top of British politics.

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