Boris Johnson Just 5/2 To Lose Top Job This Year
January 13, 2021
Politics is a cutthroat business and no-one knows that better than the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Boris Johnson has been in post for little over a year but speculation is already mounting that he will not last the five year term of office as his popularity with the public plummets. Bookmaker BetFred has odds as low as 5/2 that Johnson will be “on his bike” at some point this year and, certainly, the Prime Minister has a mountain to climb to rebuild his diminished reputation.
At the last General Election, Johnson overwhelmed the paltry opposition of the Labour Party with a victory that delivered an overwhelming majority in the Commons with 365 seats, as compared to Labour’s 203 (a loss of 59 seats that ultimately led to the departure of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the appointment of Sir Keir Starmer in his place). This landslide victory has enabled Johnson to push ahead with Brexit which finally came to pass on 31 December last year, delivering his election pledge to “Get Brexit Done” to a weary public.
However, his government’s performance over the last 12 months , and an air of crisis management – most recently, the reactive approach to criticism about substitute provision for free school lunches – have jaundiced the public’s view of the government and, most particularly, Mr Johnson himself. Back in April 2019, 66 percent of the public in a YouGov poll thought Boris Johnson was doing well with 26 percent thinking he was doing badly. The most recent poll last month shows a reversal of these figures with 56 percent of people polled believing he was doing badly and only 37 percent thinking he was doing well.
Now that Johnson has delivered Brexit, his key election pledge, the Conservative party will be looking at these polls with some nervousness, concerned that Boris Johnson’s dismal popularity rating may be a liability at the next election. Sir Keir Starmer is steadily rebuilding the Labour party’s reputation with the public, and he will be a challenging opponent to Johnson during the electioneering process as his unflappable and plain-speaking style contrasts favourably with Johnson’s bluster and occasional obfuscation.
The issue of Scottish independence is also causing concern to unionist Tories. Brexit had, at its core, the ideal of “recaptured sovereignty” as Johnson himself recently put it. However, many Scottish voters are questioning where this all leaves Scotland. After all, if the United Kingdom should be allowed to exercise its democratic rights by leaving the European Union, why should Scotland be denied its right to leave the United Kingdom by becoming an independent state itself? Support for independence is growing and many Tories fear that Johnson’s deep unpopularity in Scotland is partly to blame. The next Scottish Parliament election is on 6 May. If, as currently predicted, the Scottish National Party increase their current majority of 61 seats and, in so doing, the number of Conservatives in Holyrood diminishes, that will provide further grist to the mill of disaffected Tory MPs.
If you fancy a flutter on the issue of Boris Johnson’s future as PM, you could avail yourself of BetFred’s odds of 5/2 that he will be replaced this year (perhaps by Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor and rising star of the Conservative party?). Looking further ahead, you can get odds of 1/ 3 from other UK bookies that Johnson will be pedalling away from Downing Street in 2022 or later. Despite achieving a huge majority for his party in December 2019 and delivering the core election pledge of “Get Brexit Done”, Boris Johnson is under siege and all the signs are that his grip on power is steadily ebbing away.