What Odds Boris Johnson Will Ditch Cummings?

What Odds Boris Johnson Will Ditch Cummings?
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UK politics is in the midst of a fresh controversy over allegations Boris Johnson’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules—and the latest odds data shows just how volatile the situation is at No 10.

There is currently a stand-off between the Cummings camp, which includes the PM and top government ministers, and a raft of MPs, opposition leaders and advisors over the future of the 48-year-old.

Many want Cummings sacked after he allegedly broke the government’s strict lockdown rules put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus in March and April.

Johnson’s key strategist gave a press conference at No 10 at the start of the week to explain why he drove his family from London to Durham when his wife was suffering from the virus, supposedly in order to receive help from close family.

And while claims have since emerged that Cummings was seen at a beauty spot near Barnard Castle - 30 miles from Durham - the advisor appears to have saved his political career for now.

Odds switch in favour of Cummings

The prime minister has so far rejected calls for Cummings to be sacked and stood by his chief aid, who masterminded the Brexit vote in 2016 and who engineered Johnson’s election victory last December, over the weekend.

Johnson deflected further questions in Monday evening’s Covid press conference, insisting that this was the end of the matter.

And the latest UK politics betting odds data suggests Johnson and Cummings may have done enough to put the story to bed.

When Ladbrokes released their market on Cummings over the weekend, he was 6/4 to keep his job, compared to 1/2 being axed by the end of May 2020.

As Saturday rumbled on those odds flipped, with a sacking seemingly on the cards.

Sunday saw fresh revelations emerge from the Observer and Sunday Mirror newspapers, while a number of right-wing papers also piled in on Johnson, which led to Monday’s unprecedented speech from Cummings in the rose garden of No 10.

Cummings saved himself

Yet the probability of him being axed took a nosedive after Boris Johnson held the daily coronavirus press briefing on Sunday afternoon, which was then followed by Cummings’ own hour in front of the cameras a day later.

Johnson’s insistence Cummings did nothing wrong has seen the odds on him surviving come in to 1/5. Ladbrokes have shifted the price of a sacking way out to 3/1.

British Public Want Dominic Cummings Gone

Whether Johnson can continue to ride out this storm remains to be seen. The PM was criticised by many pundits for insisting Cummings “acted responsibly, legally and with integrity”. Many have complained the ‘Stay at Home’ rules they followed to the letter—even when it meant not being able to care for family members in need—were not adhered to by Johnson’s chief advisor.

Polling from YouGov reveals 68% of Brits reckon Cummings broke lockdown rules, while 52% want him to resign.

Meanwhile, William Hill's data shows almost 75% of bets on Cummings back the advisor to be gone by the end of May 2020.

Johnson may earn a light relief from the media storm this next week as Parliament enjoys a brief Whitsun recess. There will be no PMQs this week and Johnson is hoping to use this time as an opportunity to steer the narrative towards a further easing of the lockdown.

However, the mounting calls from fellow Tory MPs for Cummings to be axed could keep Johnson’s feet close to the fire for weeks to come.

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