What do the betting markets say about the next Conservative leader?
The Prime Minister recently stated that he would not seek a third full term, meaning that - if he sticks true to his word and wins in May - then he will end his reign as Prime Minister in 2020 by the latest. This has raised obvious questions such as who will take over? It is hard to imagine that the Conservatives want there to be discussions of replacements just before a general election, but Cameron's announcement has made this inevitable.
Who's in the running for leadership and what do the betting markets say?
Boris Johnson 9/4 (William Hill)
With odds of 9/4 from William Hill it looks as if Boris is the favourite. For someone who is not even an MP yet - but will undoubtedly be so in May - this is an impressive feat. He has experience through being Mayor of London, however, as his term runs until 2016 it is hard to imagine him leading his party in the event David Cameron loses the election. If however, David Cameron's Conservatives win in May and lead the government until 2020 and Mr Cameron steps aside, Boris Johnson is in with a shot. It's no secret that the man has leadership ambitions, and in a few years they might even be filled.
Theresa May 9/2
According to William Hill, Theresa May does have a good chance. In fact in some Conservative Home polling of members she has been a front runner. Likewise so has Boris. Additionally, she, Boris Johnson and George Osbourne were mentioned by Cameron as 'potential replacements' when he was stepping down. He said:
"The Conservative party has got some great people coming up – the Theresa Mays and the George Osbornes and the Boris Johnsons."
William Hill gives good odds for May. She has government experience and has been in her position since the start of the current administration, however, she will have a tough fight against the Mayor of London if she goes for it.
George Osbourne has a shot at the leadership, but William Hill thinks he has less of a chance than May and Johnson, nonetheless he is an experienced Chancellor and is close to David Cameron.
Whilst David Cameron mentioned the three above as part of the range of talents in the Conservative party there are of course others in with a shot, for example Philip Hammond (12/1), Sajid Javid (12/1) and Michael Gove (16/1). And of course there could be some wild cards, such as Liam Fox and Grant Shapps (both 50/1).
We could be years away from a Conservative leadership contest, but such a contest could be an interesting one full of variety.
The full odds for the next Conservative leader can be found here (26/03/2015).