Boris Johnson Exit Odds Plummet After Covid Lockdown ‘Comments’

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Boris Johnson Exit Odds Plummet After Covid Lockdown ‘Comments’
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has seen his chances of remaining in office beyond 2021 plummet after a newspaper report alleged his response to a third coronavirus lockdown was to say “let the bodies pile high in their thousands”.

The Daily Mail claim the PM said the incendiary remarks back in October after he had agreed to a second national lockdown in an effort to stem the virus.

The UK government had planned to lift lockdown restrictions in time for Christmas but that had to be ditched following a spike in cases nationwide. Following a brief relaxation over the Christmas period a third lockdown was imposed, with restrictions only now being eased.

No 10 have denied he made the remark last autumn despite a source telling the newspaper otherwise.

And the report appears to have severely impacted Johnson’s standing among the public, with political betting sites quick to slash their odds on his chances of seeing out the year in Downing Street.

Boris Johnson Latest Odds

According to the latest UK politics odds, Johnson’s price on losing his job this year – whether by being ousted or quitting himself – have halved from 6/1 to 3/1. The rapid escalation in the betting markets now represent a 25% implied probability that Johnson will be axed.

To put this into context, Johnson had been enjoying something of a repetitional revival in recent months following the sacking of Dominic Cummings as his chief advisor before Christmas.

The PM had made good on his promise to deliver Brexit, had overseen the successful roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine and had set out a roadmap out of lockdown that the public appeared to approve.

And while Johnson’s approval ratings have hit a 10-month high recently, that political capital may well become spent over the coming weeks.

Sleaze Claims

Sky report there are ‘mounting problems’ for Johnson ahead of sleaze claims from his political opponents. Questions are being asked over the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat and how it was paid for. Cummings has alleged there was a plan for donors to "secretly pay for the renovation”.

Johnson is also under the spotlight for his interactions with Sir James Dyson and his pledge to “fix” a tax issue over the status of the billionaire’s employees.

This comes after former PM David Cameron was involved in a sleaze scandal of his own around the relationship between government ministers and private companies, and Cameron’s subsequent interactions with chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Yet while the odds on Johnson leaving in 2021 have come down, he remains odds-on to stay in his post until 2022 or later. That indicates the resilience of the PM, who has already survived one general election and who’s party currently boasts a 10-point lead over Labour.

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Joe Short

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