Will Jeremy Corbyn ever become prime minister?

Since Labour’s electoral surge, momentum has been moving in Jeremy Corbyn’s direction. What are his chances of becoming Britain’s next prime minister?

They said he could never become Labour leader. They were wrong. They said he would lose seats in the general election. They were wrong.

Jeremy Corbyn is a man on a mission – a man who confounds expectations - will he ever get the top job?


The first thing to remember is that poll results are not predictions. They are snapshots of how the country feels at a particular moment in time. The pre-election polls were right, in that they showed the country shifting in Jeremy Corbyn’s direction. As for the post-election polls, they have tended to contain good news for Labour, with one poll by Opinium putting the party six points ahead of their Conservative rivals.

As the recent election shows, polls can shift dramatically in a short campaign period, but it looks like things are very much in Jeremy Corbyn’s favour.

Betting markets

It is often said that betting markets can be better guides than polls, although that can be questioned after the recent hung parliament and 2015’s Tory majority.

According to Ladbrokes (as of 1st August), Jeremy Corbyn is the odds-on favourite to become the next prime minister with odds of 3/1. David Davis is next with odds of 4/1 followed by Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg each on 10/1.

With William Hill, Corbyn is also the odds-on favourite (9/4) followed by David Davis and Philip Hammond each on 4/1. Also with William Hill, the odds of Labour getting the most seats in the election are 4/6 followed by the Conservatives on 11/10, suggesting that Labour has more political capital than its rivals.

Past leaders and elections

It could also be worth noting that of all of Labour’s past permanent leaders since 1945, five have become prime minister while six have not. With a one in two statistical chance, could it be second time lucky?

Then again, Neil Kinnock led Labour into two elections and lost both times.

What does this tell us?

Predicting politics is getting more and more difficult, but while the evidence provides strong signs of hope for Corbyn-supporters, all this is probably a better guide to how much the Conservatives do not want an early election. With a slim majority (with the DUP) and the stars aligning in Labour’s favour, it is difficult to imagine any Conservative MP wanting another vote any time soon.