Smarkets Lines Turn for Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak in UK Elections

Posted on: April 13, 2022, 09:51h. 

Last updated on: April 13, 2022, 11:56h.

Smarkets bettors continue to shift their position on the fate of political leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The odds of an early 2022 departure are on the move once again after he received a fine over Partygate.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak
UK PM Boris Johnson walks with Finance Minister Rishi Sunak. The two are on the political chopping block because of recent scandals, and Smarkets bettors weigh in on their futures. (Image: BBC)

Boris Johnson may not be able to retain his position as UK Prime Minister (PM) until the end of his term in 2024. If Smarkets bettors’ choices are the gauge, there’s a good chance he could leave this year.

As a result of Partygate and the scandal that ensued, Johnson received a fine for his participation in the events. That initially led to slightly more Smarkets users – 31% – thinking he could leave this year.

Last month, Johnson saw his odds of retaining power improve somewhat from February, but that has now changed. While he’s still hanging on, the next couple of weeks could be crucial to his political future. His most likely successor at one time, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, is facing issues of his own.

Call for Resignation

The recent scandal has led to some members of parliament calling for Johnson’s resignation. However, he stated today that he will not go anywhere voluntarily. He asserts that he didn’t realize that his actions were “a breach of the rules.

The odds of Johnson leaving next year remain steady at around 24% on Smarkets, while most people (47.62%) believe he’ll stay where he is until the end of his term.

Labour will be delighted that these events have hit two birds with one stone: not just the PM, but his (formerly) likely successor. In the eyes of the opposition, a wounded and unpopular Prime Minister stumbling along with no replacement lined up is a good outcome for them, if not the country,” states Smarkets Head of Political Markets Patrick Flynn.

However, this could change. Some 56% of the Smarkets market believes he could receive a vote of “No confidence” by Parliament sometime soon.

Should Johnson leave office early, there’s no clear alternative for succession. Three candidates are attempting to gain public support, but none has a clear advantage.

On Smarkets, Liz Truss is at 15%, Tom Tugendhat is at 11%), and Jeremy Hunt follows at 10%.

Chancellor Sunak in Trouble

Sunak previously asserted that he didn’t attend any parties associated with Partygate. However, an investigation proved otherwise. He received a fine for his participation but faces additional trouble.

Akshata Murty, Sunak’s wife, put him in the spotlight over her tax status, which has allowed her to avoid paying millions of pounds in taxes. The issue has grown so large that Sunak allegedly considered quitting his post, according to the Sunday Times.

As a result of the conglomeration of issues, Sunak is no longer in serious consideration to replace Johnson. Earlier this year, Smarkets listed him with odds of 45% to take over. Now, his odds are just 8%.

In addition, should Sunak decide not to give up his position, he could be out anyway. Smarkets bettors give his chances for removal at 58%, 3% more than two days ago.

His decline has been beneficial for Johnson. Smarkets’ Flynn asserts that, should Sunak leave, Johnson’s chances of seeing his term through to the end will likely increase more.