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How Long Will Rishi Sunak Last As UK Prime Minister?

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Joe Short
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How Long Will Rishi Sunak Last As UK Prime Minister?

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UK betting sites believe there is now a 50% chance Rishi Sunak will call a general election in November and lose.

Mr Sunak appears to be in the final few months of his prime ministership as the Conservative leader limps towards a damaging general election defeat.

The country is currently gearing up for a round of local elections on May 2nd and the Tories are expected to suffer heavy losses from Northumberland to Cornwall.

That will only fuel calls from opposition parties for the government to call an immediate election. But the bookies reckon the PM will hold off until the autumn in an effort to regain public trust over the summer holidays.

That in itself is a risky strategy as rumours continue to circulate on the possibility of a Conservative rebellion. Mr Sunak might not even make it to November, which is something the bookies are factoring in.

Rishi Sunak Odds

Right now the picture looks bleak for Mr Sunak. Betting apps price him at 8/1 to be prime minister after the next election. Sir Keir Starmer, by contrast, is the 1/12 favourite at William Hill to stroll into No 10. Based on those prices, Mr Sunak has just an 11.1% chance of winning.

Remarkably, Penny Mordaunt has shorter odds than Mr Sunak to be PM after the election. Her price has fallen to 5/1 (16.7%) despite her being a long way off leading the Tories.

Ms Mordaunt would need to topple the prime minister in a leadership battle this summer, flip a 20-point poll deficit to Labour and go beyond that to remain in power. 

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That’s a tall ask but political betting sites reckon it’s more likely than Mr Sunak delivering electoral victory.

Indeed, the current odds on any Conservative government winning the next election are rapidly drifting. 

The price of a Conservative majority sits at 25/1 with Betfred, who reckon a Tory minority is more likely at 20/1. However, there’s no doubt where the expectation lies in this market, with a Labour majority hotly tipped at 1/10.

When Could Sunak Leave?

The odds are completely stacked against Mr Sunak, so much so that everyone expects him to be out of a job in the next few months.

Predicting exactly when the PM will go, though, is something bookies and punters are struggling to figure out.

There are a few factors at play here. The first concerns there being no fixed date for the next election. Mr Sunak can wait until January 2025 to test the electorate. He could also call a snap election tomorrow.

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Right now his “working assumption” is for an autumn election. September is practically ruled out because that would mean campaigning during the August summer holidays. October is difficult because that would interrupt the lucrative party conference season.

In 2019 Boris Johnson called an unpopular December election in the lead-up to Christmas. Mr Sunak won’t do that this time.

November is the 11/10 frontrunner for the election date.

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However, the second factor affecting the markets is the possibility of a Tory rebellion. Mr Sunak might not even get to November if his backbench MPs trigger a leadership contest.

Ms Mordaunt would certainly go for the job but she might be too centrist a figure for some of the Conservative right. Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman could also challenge for the top job.

Summer has become a regular season for deposing Conservative prime ministers and Mr Sunak will have to be wary. Suffer large defeats in the May local elections and the scrutiny on his premiership will only intensify.

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Joe Short

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