Ladbrokes have put out a new market today: Which of the following party leaders will be next to quit or be removed?
A tricky one. Let’s have a look at each of the runners
He is the one under the most immediate pressure. If the polling gets any worse for the Lib Dems over the summer, perhaps a move will be made against him if there are dozens of MPs staring at defeat. Even if he gets through to the general election, I do not fancy his chances as remaining as leader unless the party can recover to win 40 seats or more. However, his prospects probably improve if we end up with another Blue/Yellow coalition.
What will he do if the Independence Referendum goes against him in September? I would guess he would stay on as First Minister and thus leader of the party. Perhaps if they fail to make any progress in the 2015 Westminster elections, the SNP might think it is time for a change. Nicola Sturgeon looks like a ready made replacement.
He has said he would stand aside if UKIP fail to win a Westminster seat at the general election – they are a shade of odds on to succeed. Otherwise he is pretty safe unless he’s caught up in some sort of scandal.
He’ll almost certainly be gone if the next election result ends up with Miliband in Downing Street. Howard, Hague and Major all stepped aside immediately after election defeat. It’s possible that the bet could be decided by whomever out of Clegg and Cameron announces their resignation first in the early hours of May 8th 2015. There are people who believe he would quit if the Scottish referendum goes for Independence.
Despite the pressure that has built up recently, it’s still 5/1 that he goes before the election. Like Cameron, I think it highly likely that he’ll be ditched if he doesn’t end up in Downing Street, although he is odds-on to be next PM. I’ve written more about his survival chances here.
A quick note on the rules – we’ll pay out on the winner as soon as someone either quits, is replaced or announces their intention to quit at a specified point. It’s likely that if people resign in the aftermath of an election, they’ll stay on as leader until Autumn conferences, but the bet is not dependent on a formal hand over to a new leader.