If its like the IDS ousting the first signs will be on Betfair
Since the Conservative Party introduced its new leadership roles while William Hague was in charge the procedure for getting rid of the incumbent has only been used once. That was, of course, the ousting of Iain Duncan Smith in October 2003.
What was intriguing about that dismissal was that the events behind closed doors in Westminster were largely being reflected on Betfair. Like now there were two markets – whether he would survive and then, of course, in the betting on who would succeed.
Even before we heard the news that thought that the requisite number of MPs had requested a confidence vote there were signs of Betfair that something was afoot. The odds on Smith not being there by the end of the year started to tighten.
While the confidence ballot was taking place there were two developments: firstly in the Smith survival market and at the same time there was a rush of money going on Michael Howard. The latter, of course, secured the top job without having to be troubled by facing a members ballot.
Given the problems that Theresa May is facing following last night’s Commons vote you would have thought that there’s a possibility she would be in trouble. Not so. She remains on a 38% chance to go this year or a 62% chance that she will survive.
The difference between now and 2003 is twofold: firstly the Tories are in power and we’re talking about a new prime minister and, of course, there is no agreement about who should be her successor.
It is that latter factor that I believe has prevented a move taking place against her. There’s no point in moving into the unknown unless you’ve got a pretty clear idea who you think will be the one to win the ensuing contest.