Boris Johnson started his new job as the Prime Minister on Thursday…but it seems the knives are already out for the Etonian ruler.
The bookmakers run an ‘exit date’ market for all senior political figures, and the general sentiment is that Boris might not even see out the year at 10 Downing Street.
Odds of 9/4 are available on an almost instant dismissal for the former Mayor of London, although 5/2 is offered on the basis that he can stick around until 2020 at least.
Even so, it’s an implied probability of nearly 31% that Johnson lasts five months in the job, and there is a chain of events that could see him be shown the door.
Confidence… or No Confidence
The truth is that ‘BoJo’ has plenty of enemies in Parliament – not least after sacking eleven ministers in his cabinet reshuffle before even starting the job, and there is plenty of anti-Boris sentiment across the party divide.
And politicians can get together and announce a vote of no confidence in the PM if they believe he is not fit for office – although something particular would need to happen before they could approach the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, with their motion.
That could revolve around Brexit, particularly if Boris doesn’t deliver by the October 31 deadline or if he attempts to push through with a No Deal arrangement against the wishes of the majority of the house.
To give you an idea of the possibility of a vote of no confidence, the bookies make it a red-hot 1/4 chance that such a motion will be made in 2019; Boris had better be on his best behaviour….
Public Sentiment Should Keep Boris Safe
While there might be a sense of rebellion in the House of Commons regarding Boris’ tenure, on the streets he at least enjoys plenty of support.
That said, a number of YouGov polls suggest he is treading on eggshells with many, as a ‘net favourability score’ of -27 attests, while nearly half of all respondents believe he did a ‘bad job’ as foreign secretary.
All of which brings to mind another General Election, which could certainly be a possibility.
Theresa May called one because she felt she didn’t have a mandate from the public having been internally elected, and Boris finds himself in the same position.
And it might not be a bad move for the Tories anyway, with the bookies suggesting they would walk away from the polls with power intact.
The Conservatives are a thin 4/5 to claim the most seats at the next General Election, with Labour no shorter than 2/1 to grab power.
And the PM’s position is safe enough for the odds-makers to offer even-money that Boris would remain at 10 Downing Street after the next Election, suggesting hopes for some kind of coalition government between Labour and the Liberal Democrats are thin on the ground.
While the Lib Dems continue to perform well in local elections they are not considered a serious enough concern for the top job, while Labour continue to be derailed by the anti-Semitism row and the sense that they have meandered through Brexit without taking a strong enough position.
And so Boris, if he can rein in his more outspoken cabinet members such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel – who is still opposed to gay marriage and yet believes in the death penalty, should have plenty of time to get comfortable on Downing Street.