I like these type of markets where you can bet on whether or not X will be in their current job on a certain date.
William Hill are offering such markets on Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, and John Bercow. Because of Brexit and Mrs May’s plans for our customs arrangement with the EU which could see her toppled by the ERG wing of the party makes me loathe to back any options for May, Johnson, and Hunt staying or leaving.
If May goes you get the feeling a new PM will carry out a comprehensive reshuffle and as we saw with Amber Rudd a crisis can quickly engulf a minister. The breast cancer screening scandal announced by Jeremy Hunt this last week is something that could end his cabinet career if he and his decisions are seen as responsible or perceived to be.
The John Bercow bets intrigue. Historically it has been profitable to back John Bercow will remain in his role but this time it just feels different, following the Newsnight revelations about Speaker Bercow the Sunday Telegraph report
Conservative MPs are threatening to challenge John Bercow with a barrage of parliamentary questions and motions following allegations about his behaviour, if he refuses to step down as Commons speaker.
A growing number of Tories are questioning Mr Bercow’s position after two former senior officials accused him of bullying. No 10 has said that the accusations should be investigated.
One MP said: “He is up against the ropes. There are people working out how we get to the end game.”
Last week MPs highlighted how, in the run-up to his election as Speaker, Mr Bercow formally pledged to stay in the role for no longer than nine years – a deadline which comes up on June 22.
The MP added: “June 22 is a pressure point. If he is still there on June 23 he is going to be there for a while and we would need to get him out with a crow bar.
“I think there will be a point in the next week or two where we start throwing the kitchen sink at him. We have got urgent questions, points of order, business questions, and even speaking in Prime Minister’s Questions saying ‘will you resign’?”
Reports on Saturday said the Speaker had decided to stand down in 2019, which has the potential to make him look like a lame duck. If Bercow publicly denies his plan to retire next year it will only stiffen the resolve of his opponents to remove him. If Bercow confirms his plans to stand down his opponents will try and bring forward his departure date.
Political authority is a lot like virginity, once you’ve lost it, it is very hard to get back, talk of his stepping down will see his authority evaporate further.
If a significant number of MPs publicly try and oust Bercow he’ll have to go even if a majority of MPs want him to stay. Being Speaker means you need the overwhelming support of MPs, not just a technical majority as the late Michael Martin would have attested to, Bercow looks set to be dwarfed by the allegations against him.