According to bookmakers Ladbrokes, the current favourite to replace Philip Hammond as Chancellor of the Exchequer is prominent Brexiteer Michael Gove. The firm currently offers odds of 4/1 for a Gove chancellorship. Meanwhile, Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid are the joint second favourites, each with odds of 6/1.
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor is currently the next favourite - currently with odds of 8/1.
This follows a Daily Mail report that the current Environment Secretary is potentially positioning himself for the job in Number 11.
The article indicates that Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget, scheduled for release next week, is being viewed as a “crucial test” and that if it fails to be seen as a success, he could be out of the job in the coming weeks.
Such an outcome would result in Hammond being one of the shortest-serving chancellors in years.
Would Gove be a sensible choice?
Michael Gove started off in government as the Coalition’s Secretary of State for Education before becoming the Chief whip in 2014. After Cameron’s majority win the next year, he was moved to the Justice Department, and following his failed leadership bid after the EU referendum, he moved to the backbenches. His time in the shadows did not last long as he returned one year later as Environment Secretary following Theresa May's failed bid to secure a majority in the 2017 election.
If Theresa May wants to make clear to those who voted Brexit that her government is committed on delivering, promoting Gove could be a sensible choice. It would allow her to nod towards the Brexiteers without promoting someone like Boris Johnson. In fact, one pragmatic option to unite remainers and leavers in her party could be to sack Hammond, replace him with Gove, sack Johnson and fill in the gap with an original remainer now committed to Brexit and lacking in controversy. This is all speculation of course, but such a move, could strengthen the prime minister. However, the chances of Boris Johnson being sacked appear to be very slim indeed.
On the other, Michael Gove has no experience in economics, business or finance, something that could weaken his chances.
Then again, George Osborne had a degree in history and he lasted six years in the job.
The full list of odds can be accessed here. All odds are accurate as of the 16th November 2017.
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