Punters split almost 50-50 on an early BJ exit
Apart from the by-elections one of the bigger political betting markets remains on the BJ exit date. This is something that is speculated all the time with those opposed to the current PM tending more to predict an early exit. Former PBer Alastair Meeks had this on his blog:
I’d make it about a 60% chance that he will be ousted before the next election. Right now Betfair makes it about a 20% chance that he’ll be replaced by 1 July 2022, and that’s not ridiculous, though I make that a bit high, given that for reasons of logistics his actual departure might be in July or August even if the fatal blow is struck earlier. Let’s say 15%
I think a lot depends on the Tory performance in today’s Bexley by-election and Shropshire North on December 16th. A big Tory setback in one of the seats where they had a 40%+ majority at GE2019 would raise further question marks amongst MPs about whether he’d be a liability going into the general election. As long as he is perceived by his party as being an election winner he is surely safe.
I have mentioned before here the Eastbourne by-election in October 1990 – a seat that had been made vacant by the murder of a close aide to Mrs. Thatcher. Unlike the current practice, the main parties contested it and the LDs won. It was this that played a big part amongst Tory MPs in undermining confidence in Mrs. Thatcher and a few weeks later the Tory triple election winner was out.