So how’s the Cabinet 2006 sack race doing?

So how’s the Cabinet 2006 sack race doing?

    Looking back at the December prices on who would be first out

prescott-clarke-hewitt side strip.JPGHistorical betting odds are often a fascinating way of looking at how perceptions can change in only a very short period and in December we covered a market from PaddyPower on which cabinet minister would be first to resign their post or be sacked during 2006.

Then Ruth Kelly of education and Margaret Beckett from environment food and rural affairs were joint 9/2 favourites to be first to get the chop in the new year. Now they look like bastions of solidity.

Kelly has survived the first storms over the education bill and Margaret Beckett, the former deputy leader and candidate for the leadership in 1994 looks a sure survivor.

Back in December John Prescott, at 40/1, was a rank outsider to be the first out. He looked like the pillar on which the whole government rested. Charles Clarke, however, looked vulnerable five months ago and was third favourite to go first.

Patricia Hewitt
, meantime, was priced at 18/1. The biggest “long-shot” in December was the the 50/1 John Reid at Defence. Given that his role is usually to fill key cabinet gaps after a sacking or resignation then he could be on the move soon. But in the terms of the bet there needs to be a vacancy first.

There has been speculation that Blair might act against Gordon Brown or offering to “widen his experience”. In December the Chancellor was on 33/1. Of coure, it could still be Tony Blair. His December 2005 price was 14/1 and, who knows, there might be a coup this weekend.

The December 2005 prices
9/2 Margaret Beckett: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9/2 Ruth Kelly: Education and Skills secretary
6/1 Charles Clarke: Home Secretary
13/2 Alistair Darling:Transport Secretary and Secretary of Scotland
8/1 Ian McCartney: Minister without Portfolio
8/1 Jack Straw: Foreign Secretary
12/1 Hilary Armstrong: Chief Whip
14/1 Tessa Jowell: Culture, Media and Sport secretary
14/1 Tony Blair: Prime Minister
16/1 Geoff Hoon: Leader of the House of Commons
18/1 Hilary Benn: International Development sec
18/1 Des Browne: Chief Secretary to the Treasury
18/1 Patricia Hewitt: Health secretary
20/1 David Miliband: Local Government minister
20/1 Lord Falconer: Lord Chancellor
22/1 Baroness Amos: Leader of the House of Lords
25/1 Peter Hain: Northern Ireland and Wales
25/1 John Hutton: Work and Pensions secretary
33/1 Gordon Brown: Chancellor of the Exchequer
33/1 Alan Johnson: Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
40/1 John Prescott: Deputy Prime Minister
50/1 John Reid: Defence secretary

I cannot find any online betting markets on this at the moment – although William Hill keep on emailing me. Getting any price at all on Charles Clarke seems unlikely.

Mike Smithson

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