Following PM Boris Johnson’s resignation, the Conservative Party has begun whittling down the field of leadership contenders to a final two candidates, as Britain’s next PM will be chosen by the Tory’s 200,000 party members.
Observing candidates party pledges and courtship of members’ votes, how have bookers priced a tribal and sadistic affair… SBC gets the bookies lowdown!
SBC: A week since PM Boris Johnson announced his resignation, how are the tribal dynamics of the Conservative Party shaping the leadership contest in who becomes next PM?
Sam Rosbottom (PR @ Betfair): Since Boris Johnson’s resignation last week, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt have been the most backed candidates to be the next Tory leader on Betfair Exchange. As of Wednesday, Sunak had been publicly backed by 42 Tory MPs, 18 more than Mordaunt. T
The two Conservative MPs had been joint-favourites at 15/8 to move into No.10 on Wednesday morning, however, Mordaunt is now the new 5/6 odds-on favourite to replace Boris Johnson, while Sunak has drifted to 7/2.“Liz Truss, who has been backed by Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg, follows behind Sunak and Mordaunt at 9/2, while the other five candidates remain big outsiders.
It comes as little surprise to see Mordaunt as the frontrunner on Betfair Exchange as a YouGov poll taken by more than 850 Tory MPs showed overwhelming support for the Portsmouth North MP. Asked who they would like as the next Tory leader, Mordaunt topped the list at 27%, almost twice as much as second-placed Kemi Badenoch at 15%.
SBC: UK media has branded former Chancellor Rishi Sunak as ‘the establishment choice’, but which leadership candidate carries the ‘grassroots voice’?
Matt Shaddick (Head of Smarkets Politics): One way to answer this question would be to compare the latest prices on each candidate to reach the last two against their prices to win the whole contest.
That should give us a measure of how likely it is that any candidate will win the membership vote if they make it to the run-off.
What that shows is that Rishi Sunak would only have a 28% chance of winning a vote, while Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt are both much higher at around 64%.
We already have some evidence from surveys that Truss has been one of the most popular cabinet ministers with the membership for quite some time. Mordaunt has done well in recent polls of Conservative members but whether that survives the intense attacks she is currently receiving and the weekend’s debates remains to be seen.
SBC: Loved and loathed in equal measure, Boris Johnson was regarded as a great campaigner, which contender can fill the vital void as a General Election looms?
Chad Yeomans (Head of Communications & PR @ Betway): It is traditional for an outgoing leader, or Prime Minister, to remain neutral or at most offer only muted support to any candidate, in order that there may be a clean break from the former regime. Boris has in the past been able to win electorally in territory never even coveted by the Conservatives; shattering the Red Wall and twice winning the Mayoralty in Labour stronghold London.
The challenge for the incoming leader was shown at the recent by-elections; how can the Conservatives regain both the likes of deep-red Wakefield and true-blue Tiverton? Bearing in mind the members get the final say, they are surely more likely to pick someone who appeals to their own constituency, so the latter may prove easier than the former.
Boris may do better to keep his powder dry. An election in a cost-of-living crisis could be unwinnable, and the Tory Party may in the future once more look covetously to someone who can deliver Parliamentary majorities forged in seats north of Watford
SBC: Will an outgoing Boris have any say in who takes the reins of the Conservative Party?
Rachel Kane (PR @ Paddy Power): If Boris does have a say in who takes the reins, then punters clearly aren’t taking it into consideration as according to the betting, Rishi Sunak (10/3) is by far and away the worst result for Paddy Power in the book. We face a six-figure payout if he gets the gig, and it’s fair to say Boris probably isn’t his bestie right now.
Penny Mordaunt is the second most popular selection and shortened from 3/1 on Monday morning to 4/6 in the interim.