PM Boris Johnson remains steadfast that he will not resign over parties held at Number 10, as the UK public observed national lockdown rules, obeying his government’s orders.
The PM stated that he would ‘take full responsibility for the scandal’, as yesterday the Met published Sue Gray’s delayed report that laid bare incidents of ‘intoxicated staff, vomiting on carpets, wine spilled down walls and parties lasting until 4am.
Gray’s report concluded with the damning verdict that ‘senior leadership at Downing St must bear responsibility for this culture’. Yet, the report did not overturn the MET’s original decision to fine the PM with one fixed-penalty-notice with a tougher sentence.
In response, the PM has pledged to ‘clean up the government’s conduct and reputation. However, once more, has Boris got away with another scandal?
Smarkets Politics reports that Johnson’s survival prospects have improved following the publication of the Sue Gray report, as its latest exchange prices have seen the chances of him being evicted from Downing Street this year fall from 35% to 23% (odds: 4.2).
“The betting markets’ instant reaction to the Sue Gray report has been to upgrade Johnson’s chances of surviving in power,” commented Matt Shaddick, Head of Smarkets Politics.
“The odds seemed to be moving against him in the run up to the report’s publication, but the contents have been rated as less harmful to the PM than expected.”
The Partygate scandal is not over for Johnson, as opposition calls for him to face an inquiry by the Commons Privileges Committee into whether he knowingly lied to Parliament about the parties at Number 10.
However, Smarkets states that Johnson has control over the party, with the likelihood of Tory MPs forcing a no-confidence vote on the PM this year now at 43% (odds: 2.36)
Bolstering Johnson’s leadership, Smarkets notes slim pickings in its market for the next Tory leader – as Jeremy Hunt stands as the narrow favourite at 13%. Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat are next in the betting; both rated a 12% chance.
As stands, Tory peers will remain faithful to Boris, but their loyalty to the PM will be tested by upcoming by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton – in which Smarkets predicts a 68% that the Conservatives will lose both seats.
“Boris Johnson may not be out of the woods just yet as the latest odds indicate a 68% chance that the Tories will be defeated in both Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton next month,” Shaddick said.
“The betting on Johnson’s successor remains wide open and the absence of any strong favourite may be the PM’s saving grace. Jeremy Hunt has taken over as a marginal favourite but there is very little confidence behind any of the potential runners right now.”