On Wednesday George Osborne will deliver his eighth budget and I’m starting to wonder if this will be Osborne’s final budget, for the following reasons,
- Were Leave to win, I expect Cameron to cease being Tory leader, and a new leader, assuming it isn’t Osborne, will want someone else as Chancellor. If the new Leader is Osborne, that will also end Osborne’s tenure Â as Chancellor.
- Even if Remain wins, Cameron is expected to conduct a ‘reconciliation reshuffle’Â If it is a small Remain victory, he might be tempted to move Osborne, and replace him with a Leaver, as was said of an earlier Old Etonian Tory Prime Minister,Â “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life.”
- Osborne’s stock seems to be at an all time low amongst Tory MPs, last year we saw it with tax credits, this year we’ve seen it with Tory MPs forcing Osborne to abandon plansÂ on radical pension reform.
- Osborne will have been Chancellor/Shadow Chancellor for eleven years this May, he may wish to move to another department. I’ve always thought one of the reasons Gordon Brown proved to be a poor Prime Minister was that for twenty years, he had either been Chancellor or Shadowed economic roles, he might have been better served for becoming Prime Minister running/shadowing other Government departments before he became Prime Minister.
So I’m taking the 6/1 William Hill are offering that Osborne ceases to be Chancellor this year for the reasons above, especially when you consider the best odds you can get on Leave winning are 12/5 and Cameron going this year is 7/2.
PS – Â The budget will the first time Osborne faces Corbyn at the despatch box, as the Leader of the Opposition responds to the budget. If Osborne fails to shine against Corbyn, or if Â Corbyn puts in a better than expected performance, Osborne’s stock will plummet further, so it might be wise to start laying him some more as next Tory leader.