Who Will Be Unity Prime Minister if Boris Johnson is Ousted?

Who Will Be Unity Prime Minister if Boris Johnson is Ousted?
© PA

Conservative backbencher Ken Clarke is now the heavy favourite among the Tory ranks to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister.

MPs return to Parliament on Wednesday following a Supreme Court decision that Mr Johnson’s government unlawfully prorogued - suspended - both houses at Westminster.

Johnson claimed the prorogation was in preparation for a Queen’s Speech, although critics said it conveniently stopped opposition parties critiquing the government’s Brexit strategy.

Now back at Westminster, Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP are said to be in conversation over how to oust Johnson from power. And Mr Clarke may be the person to replace him.

Unity Prime Minister?

The idea put forward by some is to install a ‘Unity Prime Minister’ who would form a cross-party government, block a No Deal Brexit and call a general election.

Mr Clarke and Labour MP Harriet Harman have previously been touted for this role.

And with Labour and the Lib Dems unlikely to agree to put forward either of each other’s leaders — Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson — for the ‘Unity’ role, Mr Clarke could prove to be sensible middle ground.

Bookmakers William Hill crushed Clarke’s odds on becoming the next prime minister from 12/1 to 5/1 in a fortnight. Indeed, Clarke’s price fell from 8/1 in the 24 hours since the prorogation was overturned.

Little Competition From Tories

There aren’t too many other Tories in the running, it seems. Second favourite among Conservative MPs to become prime minister is arch-Brexiteer Michael Gove at 28/1.

It’s hard to see how Mr Gove would appeal to opposition parties as a ‘Unity’ choice, so his best avenue into No 10 would be if Johnson resigned and was swiftly replaced.

Both Dominic Raab and Sajid Javid — who battled Johnson and Gove for the Tory leadership over the summer — are 33/1.

Corbyn The Favourite

Corbyn still remains the favourite to be the next PM at 2/1 with BetHard. But for this to happen Johnson will likely have to stay in power until a snap election is called.

Labour remain around eight points behind the Conservatives in the polls, suggesting Corbyn would not win a majority at the next general election.

Nor would the Lib Dems, whose leader Ms Swinson is now 9/1 to be the next prime minister.

When Will Johnson Leave?

As for Johnson’s own future, he is now evens (1/1) with Ladbrokes to leave his post before the end of 2019.

The 55-year-old is under intense pressure to deliver Brexit by October 31 — but there is legislation in place to force him to ask the EU for an extension if no deal is agreed by the middle of that month.

It appears as though a snap election could resolve Johnson’s headache and November is back to being the likely month of a vote, having come back in from 9/4 to now 13/8.

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