Smarkets Bettors No Longer Confident Rishi Sunak Will Replace Boris Johnson

Posted on: March 30, 2022, 09:03h. 

Last updated on: March 30, 2022, 10:46h.

Boris Johnson’s reign as the Prime Minister of the UK is coming to an end. However, Rishi Sunak, once the most likely successor, is falling down in the polls on the Smarkets betting exchange.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson won’t likely leave his position early, as previously thought. Smarkets bettors expect him to serve out his term. (Image: The Conversation)

This past January, 80% of those participating in the market on Smarkets believed Johnson’s term would be cut short. Following Partygate earlier this year, people began expecting Boris Johnson’s time as the UK Prime Minister to end ahead of schedule.

Now, however, Johnson will likely stay around. Only 30% of Smarkets bettors expect him to leave some time in 2022, with 22% believing he will exit next year. A majority, 48.54%, think he will still be in command in 2024 or beyond.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer and the chief executive of the UK’s treasury, was at one point the favorite to take over. However, the lines are moving quickly, and a new name is gaining ground in the race to become the next Prime Minister.

Johnston Hangs Onto Power

Johnston is facing a potential reprimand for the parties, although he has asserted he didn’t organize them. Police announced this week that they are wrapping up an investigation of 12 events at 10 Downing Street and that 20 “fixed-penalty” notices will soon be delivered. A fixed-penalty notice is a fine for a minor offense in the UK.

In addition to Johnson retaining power, Sunak will likely stay where he is. Smarkets odds give him 64% of maintaining his position as Chancellor through the end of this year.

This is up 2% over where he stood yesterday. If he leaves, though, Smarkets believes Jeremy Hunt, Lord Frost or Kwasi Kwarteng will be next in line.

UK Prime Ministry Up For Grabs

Sunak still has a chance at being Johnson’s successor as Prime Minister, but his odds slipped recently. In January, his odds of taking over were around 45%. Now, they are only 15.6%.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has dropped, as well. She had odds of 12% just a few days ago but is now at 8%. She joins other potential candidates who have all seen their odds fall.

Only one person is bucking the trend and increasing the threat against Johnson. Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, has gained ground and is now at 17% on Smarkets to be the next Prime Minister. At the end of February, his odds were 11.9%, having risen from 7.7% a month earlier.

As Sunak’s prospects of getting the top job fall, so have those of Johnson being evicted before an election. Starmer’s price has increased as a result, but at 17%, he still looks like a good value bet in our opinion,” states Smarkets Head of Political Markets Matthew Shaddick.

The official date for the next general election is May 2, 2024. Previously, the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 set the schedule as every five years (although there has only been one fixed-term Parliament since then). However, the current government repealed the law in 2020, which was confirmed in 2021.

Now, if he wanted to, Johnson could call for early general elections. Smarkets believes the next UK government could be a Labour Party-led government, which may play a role in whether the Conservative Party’s Johnson decides to pull the trigger.