But it really could be just about anyone
David Herdson’s header this morning about the LAB leadership is a reminder that we haven’t looked at the TMay successor betting for some time. Given that a 2019 Conservative leadership contest is much more likely than a LAB one then we should really keep an eye on it.
The chart shows the extraordinary rise in early January of Michael Gove who has now established himself with a solid lead, in the betting at least. Boris Johnson the man who signed up Lynton Crosby to run his leadership campaign, has found it a bit of a struggle.
The big picture, though, is that the favourite is being rated by punters as only a 16% chance which doesn’t suggest much confidence in the betting markets. In the immediate aftermath of TMay losing the Tory majority in June 2017 Johnson touched 30% in the betting.
Given that the final decision is made by Conservative members who will have a choice of just two selected for them by the Conservative parliamentary party I cannot see both Gove and Johnson occupying those two slots. I also think that the ex-mayor is going to struggle more with Conservative MPs in the knockout process that precedes the membership ballot stage.
We could be fairly close from a contest. My guess is that Theresa May will be there until after Brexit but then after that anything can happen even in spite of the fact that she won a theoretical reprieve by winning the confidence vote of MPs Before Christmas. That should give her 12 months immunity but you see heavy pressure being put on her post-brexit to retire. The Tories want someone who can take on Corbyn and the memory of the PM’s 2017 campaign still lingers.
Looking at the top seven in the betting I get a sense that the eventual next Conservative leader is not listed amongst those rated at 3% or above on the Betfair exchange.