With current opinion polls struggling to predict the makeup of the UK Government after May’s General Election (back no overall majority at a top-price 2/9 at Ladbrokes) there’s increasing uncertainty about politics right now, but we can be fairly sure of one thing.
After every general election bar 1987 over the past 32 years at least one of the three biggest Westminster parties has ditched their leader following defeat, meaning there’s money to be made in keeping an eye on the immediate future.
With that in mind, read on for a few thoughts on the likely power struggles:
Such is Boris Johnson’s enormous standing within his party’s ranks that Father of the House Peter Tapsell allegedly offered to step down early from his Louth and Horncastle seat in order to facilitate the Mayor of London’s swift Westminster return.
As it is, he’ll win easily in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and if David Cameron fails to land a second term as Prime Minister it will be difficult to look beyond Boris.
The one thing that could scupper the ascent is Bojo’s affected upper-class toffery coming straight after Cameron’s rather more authentic affluence.
Should that prove the case then well-liked, ambitious Communities Secretary Eric Pickles would certainly come into the equation at a massive price, although he’ll have to keep on getting the weight down.
It’s easy to understand why working-class hero Andy Burnham heads this market at 5/2, with the electorate repeatedly said to be sick of ‘career politicians’, but the Evertonian will struggle to expunge the smell of loser off himself having come fourth of five candidates for the leadership back in 2010.
Besides, Burnham has been a Labour insider for over 20 years, so he’s hardly a new broom.
The reds are often jeered by the Tories, rather ironically, for never electing a woman leader. With five of the fairer sex in the betting’s top 12, including 4/1 second favourite Yvette Cooper, Ed Miliband’s successor seems certain to come from the sisterhood.
The fact that Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron is the only politician appearing in this piece who’s odds on to be his party’s next leader indicates the Liberal Democrats’ likely lack of options if Nick Clegg falls on his sword, or indeed loses his seat, after the polls close.
Of the next six in the betting, priced up between 6/1-16/1, only Clegg-lite Norman Lamb, 71-year-old Vince Cable and Pensions Minister Steve Webb look nailed on to retain their seats in the coming yellow wipeout.
It may be Webb that emerges as the new head of the ‘Orange Book’ faction started by the Lib Dems’ right wing over a decade ago, but a lurch to left-leaning Farron looks a banker.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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