Second time lucky for Michael Gove: could he replace Theresa May?

The UK's Environment Secretary’s political stock is accumulating. Will this Brexiteer replace Theresa May?

One can almost certainly say that Theresa May will not be leading her party into the next general election once the Brexit process is complete. Her failed bid to boost her party’s majority embarrassed the Conservatives and transformed Labour into a government in waiting. But who could take over once her time ends?

A few months ago, the idea of Michael Gove becoming prime minister was laughable. After a surprise bid to become Tory leader after Cameron’s resignation, Gove was moved to the backbenches. Less than a year later, Theresa May brought him back as Britain’s Environment Secretary, and since then the bookies’ odds of him taking over as Tory leader and as prime minister have been shortening.

According to Oddschecker, he is the betting markets’ eighth favourite Conservative to replace May as party leader behind David Davis (a possible placeholder), Jacob Rees-Mogg (a very unlikely choice), Amber Rudd (a continuity candidate), Boris Johnson (a possible choice with plenty of bagage, not to mention an opportunist), Ruth Davidson (a non-MP candidate), Andrea Leadsom (a possible option) and Gavin Williamson (an outstanding opportunist).

The odds of Gove becoming the next Conservative leader stand at 20/1 with Ladbrokes and 16/1 with William Hill.

Furthermore, an Oddschecker report from the 9th November declared that over six in ten of the bets for May’s replacement that morning had been for Michael Gove.

But could Michael Gove really be Britain’s next prime minister? His strengths are that he is a committed Brexiteer, he has made far fewer gaffes than Boris Johnson (hardly a ringing endorsement), and he has plenty of government experience. It might seem improbable, but if politics has taught us anything in recent years it’s that the improbable can become the possible, and the possible reality

Prime minister Michael Gove? I wouldn't bet for it, but don’t bet against it.