Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Bookmaker Makes it Odds On that Teresa May will be Deposed this Year

Betway have slashed their odds on Theresa May being deposed this year, from 5/4 to 4/5. Three other UK bookmakers are offering short odds or evens that Theresa May will be gone this year. Sky Bet is offering even money with William Hill offering odds of 11/10 and Corals 5/4, at time of writing. You can get more generous odds from Paddy Power who divide 2018 into four quarters, with quarter 1, the shortest odds at 5/1. But given that rumours are circulating that the local elections results in May will be so bad for the Tory party, that this will trigger a challenge to the prime minister, quarter 2 may be a better bet, at 6/1.

Discontent is growing with May, amongst the party’s MPs, with more of them publicly calling for her to up her game or go, although some have stuck to the line that now is not the time to change the prime minister. Rumours also suggest that close to the 48 MPs needed for a vote of confidence in May, have submitted letters to the 1922 committee chair. Patience appears to be running out with May over domestic policy drift and in-fighting over the exact terms of the UKs exit from the European Union (EU).

May has only survived as long as she has since last June’s disastrous general election, when she threw away a ruling majority, because Tory MPs couldn’t agree on a successor and they worried that a general election might follow, which they would lose to the Labour party. This calculation appears to be changing though, with the feeling spreading that nothing could be worse than May carrying on for much longer.

But something else has changed too. The most hard-line Brexit Tory MPs have been supportive of May, as she talked tough on the exit negotiations. But her concession just before Christmas of paying a £39 billion ‘divorce’ settlement to the EU, and caving in by agreeing to in effect staying in the European customs union (and possibly European single market), to get an agreement on the Irish border, has caused a re-think. Leading hard-line Brexiteer, Jacob Rees Mogg has said May’s plan would leave the UK as a ‘vassal state’ of the EU.

Theresa Villiers, a former minister and also from the party’s hard-line Brexit wing, said that the UK appears set to remain in the EU 'in all but name.' This was sparked by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, speaking at the Davos conference last week, saying the UK’s trade relations with the EU would change only “very modestly” after Brexit. The hardliners are feeling betrayed, and now may be convinced that the only way to secure their demands of a hard Brexit, is to replace May with someone they view as ideologically sound on the matter.

This is certainly the most serious situation for May’s leadership that she has faced, and it is starting to look like the beginning of the end. May might conceivably survive a vote of no confidence, but even this may not be enough to save her. She might be so fatally damaged by the result that she is forced to resign.

In 1990, under different rules, then Tory prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, won the first round of a leadership challenge from Michael Heseltine, only to resign a few days later. The Tories can be pretty brutal with a failing leader, and May is definitely failing.

If a hard-line Brexiteer wins the Tory leadership this could throw the whole process of Brexit into even more disarray than it is. The minimal progress achieved so far in the negotiations might be reversed, which is an alarming prospect for anyone with the good of the country at heart. It would likely tear the Tory apart at the same time, but that is of scant concern.

If there is one thing that gets the Tories going it is Europe, and it looks like they are going to take a chance with our future by casting the country into chaos, over their ideological obsession.

Let’s hope that this also leads to an early general election, where the stable can be swept clean, and this most self-indulgent of parties are ejected from office, for the common good.


  1. Interestingly Barry Gardiner first made the vassal state comment back in July '17. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/24/leaving-eu-single-market-customs-union-brexit-britain-europe

  2. Labour is playing a game to suit themselves, not the country, but at some stage they will need to choose what they going to do.