Ladbrokes have a market up who will be Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January 2018, I quite like these kind of markets. Boris Johnson’s actions in recent weeks has led many to urge Mrs May to conduct a reshuffle to rid her of her meddlesome Foreign Secretary. With rumours abounding that Mrs May will conduct a reshuffle after this week’s EU Council Summit, this looks like a tempting market.
I think we can rule out Emily Thornberry being Foreign Secretary on the 1st of January, the chances of either Labour forming the government in the next three months, or her defecting to the Tory party are a lot higher than the 25/1 offered in this market.
People have started mooting David Cameron as Foreign Secretary, so the 100/1 might seem tempting, I’m not tempted as I suspect, given Cameron’s role in the Remain campaign, would cause apoplexy amongst the more hardcore Leavers, even though he has the experience and nous to be an outstanding Foreign Secretary, Mrs May cannot annoy her more passionate Brexiteers, especially since she frittered away David Cameron’s hard won majority.
Of the prominent Leavers, Michael Gove at 12/1 looks good, he would reassure the Leavers whilst offering a more nuanced and diplomatic Foreign Secretary, but he’s being touted as the next Chancellor of the Exchequer. David Davis probably won’t be moved because given the complexities of the Brexit deal, it would be problematic for a new Brexit Secretary to be appointed midway through the process.
Of the other prominent Leavers, such as Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling, Liam Fox, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, a mixture of inexperience and/or fundamentalism to the Brexit cause should surely rule them out.
Anyone outside of the cabinet should be ruled out as well, as I don’t think Mrs May will want to promote from outside the cabinet for the role and not antagonise most of her ministers within the current cabinet.
I think the value is with Jeremy Hunt at 50/1, he’s dealt well with being the Tory Health Secretary for over five years, so he’s tough in dealing with emotive issues. Although he voted to Remain, he’s recently stimulated the political erogenous zones of the Leavers announcing he had changed his mind on Brexit, Hunt said,
‘Frankly the way the EU Commission has behaved since the referendum has been very disappointing. It’s that arrogance that we’ve seen. Every time we make really generous and open-hearted offers it’s not enough.’
I can understand why people might wish to back the evens on Boris Johnson, as this would be a quite ballsy move on Mrs May’s part, and probably precipitate a leadership challenge, but I suspect the shenanigans of Boris Johnson in recent weeks, which has annoyed many Tories, give Mrs May a bit of protection if she moves Boris from the Foreign Office.
Jeremy Hunt appears to have all the qualities required in a Foreign Secretary in this uncertain post-Brexit world, qualities Boris Johnson lacks in abundance.