Betting on politics: the next Tory leader

It’s been an eventful week, with the first indictments in the investigation into the Trump team’s alleged Russian connections, and the sex scandal in Westminster. So how are these events affecting betting markets? As far as Trump is concerned, there’s been little change. The odds on him leaving before the end of his term have tightened slightly to 1.96 (51%), but they remain within the 45%-55% range seen for most of his presidency.

In Britain there has been some movement at Betfair on who will be the next Conservative leader. Betfair now deems Boris Johnson slightly less likely to become leader: his odds have moved out to 7.8 (12.8%) – the same as David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg. However, Ladbrokes has slashed the odds on him still being foreign secretary on New Year’s Day to 1/4 (80%), and removed the option to bet on either him or Hammond going. Paddy Power is still offering 11/10 (47.6%) on him leaving this year, and the same odds for 2018.

I think Trump will survive until at least 2019. Neither the indictments against Paul Manafort nor those against George Papadopoulos come close to a smoking gun. The crimes that Manafort is being indicted for happened well before he became Trump’s campaign manager, while Papadopoulos claims that plans to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin ultimately fell through. The Republican Party and their media supporters also seem to be solidly behind Trump.

Similarly, I still think that Johnson will survive until next year. However, Theresa May could decide that the general public revulsion over parliamentary sleaze gives her enough reason to carry out a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle that moves him to a different department. So having previously tipped him to stay, or be replaced by Michael Gove or David Davis, I would now advise against putting more money on him staying in his current role.

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