May’s dilemma: 7 favourite Conservatives to replace Priti Patel

On Wednesday, Priti Patel resigned from the cabinet - the second cabinet secretary to step down in a week. Have a look at the seven favourite Conservative MPs to replace Patel here, according to Ladbrokes’ betting odds.

7th – James Cleverly

This rising Conservative Party star is Labrokes’ seventh favourite MP to replace Priti Patel – joint with Tobias Ellwood and Tom Tugendhaut (12/1). Cleverly served in the London Assembly before joining the Westminster parliament in 2015. He is a confident figure, and recently voiced his ambitions to become prime minister, according to Politics Home. In the 2016 EU referendum, Cleverly supported a leave vote.

James Cleverly MP

6th – Margot James

James is currently the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility. Her odds of taking over from Patel stand at 10/1 with Ladbrokes. She was first elected in 2010 and backed remain in last year’s referendum.

5th – Anne Milton

Also on 10/1 is Anne Milton, who currently serves as the Minister for Skills, and Apprenticeships. According to the Telegraph, Milton did not reveal how she voted in last year’s Brexit vote.

4th – Alistair Burt

Burt has served as an MP on two separate occasions. He was the representative for Bury North between 1983 and 1997 until he lost his seat to the New Labour surge of 1997. Then four years later, he became the MP for North East Bedfordshire, a position he has held ever since. He currently serves as a minister in the Foreign Office. Ladbrokes odds: 5/1.

3rd – Alan Duncan

Duncan is another Foreign Office minister, having served as the Minister for Europe and the Americas since May’s ascension the premiership last July. His odds also stand at 5/1.

2nd – Rory Stewart

Stewart is yet another Foreign Office minister, and was even a minister under Priti Patel in the Department for International Development. Before entering politics, he worked in foreign affairs and is currently to second favourite to replace Patel (4/1).

1st – Penny Mordaunt

Mordaunt is currently the favourite to replace Patel at the Department for International Development, with Labrokes offering odds for her take-over at 11/8. She currently works as the Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, and was tipped to become Defence Secretary last week following Michael Fallon’s departure, according to the Telegraph. Could it be second-time lucky for this Brexiteer?


Two significant factors will play a key role in determining May’s choice. Firstly, after a chaotic few weeks, which have resulted in the loss of two cabinet ministers, Theresa May will want to restore – or at least create the illusion of – control. Since June’s election, the Conservative minority government has been under constant attack. An emboldened Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn is taking advantage of its new post-election position, the Conservatives have fallen behind in the polls and the consensus appears to be that May is a weak leader. In order to create stability, May will need someone who is noted as a reliant individual. After the controversy surrounding Gavin Williamson’s appointment as defence secretary last week, a sensible balance choice will be required.

Secondly, there will be Brexit dynamics at play. The Conservatives now fully support the UK’s exit from the European Union, however, the shadow of Brexit lingers over the party, and Patel was a highly prominent leave figure ahead of the referendum. A replacement in the shape of an original Brexiteer would allow for the current leave-remain balance to continue.

So, who fits the bill? Morduant would probably be the sensible choice for the PM, but after last week’s surprise promotion of Gavin Williamson, who’s to say which way the prime minister will go.

The full list of Ladbrokes odds can be accessed here. All odds are accurate as of 9th November 2017 at 10.30am.