Following a string of scandals that resulted in the resignation of more than 50 ministers and senior aides over the last two days, Boris Johnson is stepping down as the United Kingdom’s prime minister.
Online gamblers, meanwhile, aren’t missing out on the opportunity to bet on who will replace him.
Johnson, the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party who has served as prime minister since 2019, announced his intent to resign on Thursday. The decision comes after members of his own cabinet pressured him to step down amid the realization that Johnson had appointed Chris Pincher, former deputy chief whip, to a senior position despite knowledge that Pincher had previously been accused of sexual misconduct. Johnson had also initially denied that he was made aware of these accusations before Pincher’s appointment.
Pincher resigned on June 30, following allegations that he had groped two men while drunk at a club in London. Since then, six more people have come forward alleging that in the past, Pincher had behaved inappropriately and in a nonconsensual manner toward them.
Johnson was also fined by police earlier this year for violating COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Dubbed “Partygate,” the scandal resulted in the resignation of four of Johnson’s aides in February.
Johnson’s resignation means ample ability to now wager on who his successor will be. The betting markets, notoriously known for predicting Donald Trump’s election and Brexit despite polling indicating otherwise, are currently favoring these potential candidates:
- Rishi Sunak: The former chancellor of the Exchequer—the equivalent of a financial minister—resigned from Johnson’s cabinet on Tuesday. Sunak is currently favored at 5/1 odds, meaning that the betting markets give him a 20% chance of replacing Johnson.
- Penny Mordaunt: The U.K.’s current minister of State for Trade comes in at 7/1 odds, equivalent to a 12.5% chance of appointment. Some betting markets have Mordaunt as the clear favorite.
- Ben Wallace: Currently serving as defense secretary, Wallace is tied with Mordaunt at 12.5% odds.
- Sajid Javid: Johnson’s former health secretary, who also resigned on Tuesday, comes in fourth in the betting markets. His current odds of being chosen are 8/1, or a little over 11%.