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Betting on the next Foreign Secretary

July 22nd, 2019

Last weekend I did a piece on who will be the next Chancellor and my central premise was that Boris Johnson would leave Jeremy Hunt at King Charles Street lest he adds another malcontent on the backbenches so dabbling in this market didn’t really interest me as I might end up tying up my money for a long time. The events in the Strait of Hormuz probably ensures Boris Johnson decides to keep Hunt there for continuity reasons alone.

However the more I thought about it I convinced myself there’s value in backing Emily Thornberry at 16/1, there’s a couple of plausible routes to her becoming the next Foreign Secretary.

  1. There’s a general election soon to solve the Brexit impasse in Parliament or if sustained no deal causes the government to collapse and a Labour led government takes power (either via a majority or some form of coalition/supply and confidence arrangement.)
  2. Boris Johnson’s government loses a vote of no confidence and during the fourteen day window of the fixed term parliament act Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister either for the long term or a caretaker Prime Minister until an autumn general election (perhaps with the only proviso he has to extend Article 50 lest we fall out of the EU whilst in the middle of a general election.) Thus Corbyn needs to appoint ministers and that’s how Emily Thornberry becomes the next Foreign Secretary.

So for some smallish stakes I’m backing Emily Thornberry in this market. It does say a lot about the anticipated direction of a Johnson ministry that Priti Patel, a woman who had to resign in disgrace for running a private foreign policy, is the third favourite in this market.

TSE