Will he make it to Number 10 within a decade?
After the row over the comments about Liverpudlians in the Specator, the magazine that he edits, the Tory MP, Boris Johnson, has been backed to become Prime Minister on or before December 31, 2014 with William Hill at 66/1.
There’s also money going on him 25/1 with Hills and 33/1 with PaddyPower to become the next Leader of the Conservative Party. ‘We have been a little surprised to take several bets for Boris, both to lead his Party and the country, in recent days’ said a William Hill spokesman.
It’s not clear how many of the punters are Merseysiders!
The price seems quite generous but like all these very long-term bets the main beneficiary is the bookie who gets the chance to hold onto your money for, in this case, perhaps more than ten years.
The next Tory leader looks like being an interesting bet especially if the party does as badly as many are predictiing and Michael Howard decides to take an early bath. We cannot see Boris getting it just yet although there is no doubt that he would be popular.
But would he have the gravitas to appear Prime Ministerial? In a different way that was always John Major’s problem – he never quite looked the part.
Boris does have one feature that Michael Howard lacks and seems a pre-requisite for winning party leaders at UK General Elections – he went to Oxford University. In the sixteen General Elections since the 1939-45 war fourteen have been won by parties led by Oxford graduates. The other two – Winston Churchill in 1951 and John Major in 1992 – did not go to university. If Michael Howard did lead the Tories to victory he would be the first Cambridge-educated politician to do it since Stanley Baldwin in 1935.
Another Oxford-educated politician who might just make it to Downing Street is John Prescott – he was at the trade union college, Ruskin.