Sunak Ahead Of Starmer In Race To Replace PM Johnson

Sunak Ahead Of Starmer In Race To Replace PM Johnson
© PA

Rishi Sunak is the new overall favourite to replace Boris Johnson as the next prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Rumours that Johnson could quit as leader of the Tory Party have been rumbling since the summer, and there are suggestions he may leave his post once Brexit is achieved this coming January.

Chancellor Sunak had been trailing behind Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in the UK politics betting odds for months, with the latter seemingly the most likely to replace Johnson – but crucially only at the next election.

Yet with Johnson now tipped to quit politics before the next scheduled general election in 2024, suddenly there is a chance for one of his cabinet ministers to steal in ahead of Starmer.

And that person, it appears, is Sunak. The former banker was only appointed to Johnson’s government in the summer of 2019 but his economic package that steered the UK through the first wave of coronavirus has earned him plenty of stock among Tory MPs.

Sunak Leads Starmer

The latest political odds stemming from UK bookmakers have witnessed a flip in the race to be Johnson’s successor.

Starmer was 2/1 to be the next PM up until the start of October, when talk of a second wave began to pile even more pressure on the incumbent Johnson.

That, along with the very real threat of a No Deal Brexit hanging over the country, has triggered suggestions Johnson could soon leave his post.

And bettors have leapt on those rumours to back flavour-of-the-month Sunak in from 3/1 to 2/1 to get the top job. In turn, Starmer’s price has inflated to 3/1, while Tory cabinet minister Michael Gove is steady at 7/1.

Lockdown Bad News For Johnson

In recent days, Johnson’s government has implemented a new three-tier lockdown strategy in an effort to stem the rise in fresh Covid-19 cases across England. But Starmer has called out the PM, insisting that the country should be put under a “circuit breaker” national lockdown for two weeks.

The Labour leader has called on Sunak to deliver an economic package to cover those who lose work over this period, and Northern Ireland has already leapt on the idea with a four-week lockdown.

However, it appears as though pressure from the Chancellor’s department is helping to stave off a total lockdown across England for now. Instead, local authorities are to be given a coronavirus alert level between Medium, High and Very High, with money available to those falling into the last category.

This seems to be going against scientific advice, which has called for a national lockdown. But Johnson will be hoping the country can weather the impending Covid-19 winter storm without having to impose fresh restrictions on businesses and workers.

It is a gamble that may put his own job at risk.