Theresa May’s position currently looks unassailable. Her speech last week was very well received by the public and her opinion poll leads are overwhelming. For now, her honeymoon with voters shows few signs of abating and she stands dominant over the British political scene.
But will it last?
The times in which there is the greatest consensus about the political future is often the best time to look for betting value. And the course that has to be navigated between now and the next General Election which – in the absence of any parliamentary vote to the contrary – will be held in May 2020 is probably the most treacherous for any UK Prime Minister in living memory.
A number of factors could cause this: a second Scottish independence referendum (sanctioned or not) that results in a Yes vote, a disastrous negotiation with the EU, a public falling out with Donald Trump (or, more likely, he with her) leading to No Trade Deal, and/or a recession that, regardless of circumstances, will be blamed on Brexit. Not to mention a major domestic political black swan event that could topple her whilst her back is turned.
We know Theresa May doesn’t have a huge following amongst her colleagues, and her managerial style has not endeared many of them to her. But the Conservative Party can forgive anything, except failure.
I’ve been considering options.
“Prime Minister After the Next General Election” is a very interesting market from Skybet.
Note the rules: “Market to be settled on the Prime Minister appointed after the next UK general election, regardless of when this takes place. Any change in Prime Minister before the next election will not be relevant to the settlement of this market.”
So, if you think May will be replaced by another Conservative prior to a General Election being held, which could be held at any time prior to May 2020, and that he/she will win as incumbent PM , then this bet would pay out.
Who would benefit?
My money would be on an experienced Conservative with cabinet level experience who’d be perceived as a ‘safe pair of hands’. That would be someone who respected the Brexit vote, but would do whatever’s necessary to salvage the situation politically.
I’m on Hammond at 100/1, Rudd at 200/1 and Osborne at 200/1. I think all three represent excellent value.
Even if this scenario is only a 10/1 shot, it isn’t much longer than that, and the inexplicable prices for Farage at 50/1, David Miliband at 40/1, and Tim Farron at 18/1, really do put these into perspective.