How the Bookies See It
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- Boris Johnson has been serving the government as the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs since July 2016, and the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip was previously in office as the Mayor of London. Johnson is an outspoken politician who is seldom out of the headlines, often for saying something provocative, but his ambition to lead the Conservative Party is well known. He previously stood against Theresa May before being ‘betrayed’ by Michael Gove, and then pulling out of the race entirely. Whilst he is a controversial figure, and often portrayed as a bit of a buffoon, he is a highly skilled politician who proved to be surprisingly popular as the Mayor of London, and he may be perfectly poised to lead his party.
- David Davis is the current Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, as well as the MP for Haltemprice and Howden. He has previously served as Chairman of the Conservative Party, albeit for a rather short period of time, from September 2001 to July 2002, at which point he was succeeded by Theresa May. Davis is in the limelight quite regularly these days thanks to him spearheading negotiations over the terms of the UK leaving the European Union, but given the excruciatingly slow pace of those talks, we don’t know quite how popular he would be with Conservative Party members to lead them.
- Philip Hammond is the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge. Hammond has previously served his party as the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Transport, as well as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and to the Department for Work and Pensions. It is this breadth of experience across so many different departments which makes Hammond a likely contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party, but he isn’t considered a progressive by any means, and that might make him less popular with younger members of the party.
- Amber Rudd became a household name when standing in for Theresa May in the election debate which was broadcast live on BBC television in June of this year. The MP for Hastings and Rye only managed to hold onto her seat by 346 votes, and currently serves the government as the Home Secretary. Rudd has been an outspoken critic of Boris Johnson, and is therefore likely to be more popular in the Theresa May camp than in that of the former Mayor of London.
- Jacob Rees-Mogg is the Member of Parliament for North East Somerset and is the only front-runner who doesn’t currently have a position in the Cabinet. Rees-Mogg is known to be a Eurosceptic with sympathies towards UKIP, and is also opposed to same-sex marriage, so he isn’t likely to be the first choice of progressive Conservatives.
Political careers can be made or broken on the turn of a phrase, let alone a dime, so predicting who will be the next leader of the Conservative Party is challenging to say the least. On the basis of past form, the bookmakers seem justified in making Boris Johnson and David Davis the two front-runners, and a lot could depend on how the latter makes headway on the Brexit issue. If he negotiates a good deal (or as good as the nation can get, under the circumstances) then he could be a strong candidate for leader of the party.
Boris Johnson is someone who tends to speak without thinking sometimes, most recently stating that the Libyan city of Sirte could become the next Dubai if they "cleared the dead bodies away". That said, if he can address that tendency and manoeuvre himself into a more electable position (as he seems to have started, by changing how he talks about Donald Trump, for example) he would be a fair bet to win the race, and seems like a justifiable favourite. We will therefore side with the bookmakers and tip Johnson to be the next leader of the Conservative Party after Theresa May.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
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*Please note, odds may fluctuate.