Six weeks into the job, Liz Truss announced yesterday that she would resign as Britain’s Prime Minister. Whereas the process that resulted in Truss succeeding Boris Johnson ran from July to September, through the party’s usual process where the members of parliament winnow it down to a field of two who then face a ballot of the party membership, this time the matter will be determined within a week. The principles of the election will be broadly similar to before, but the narrowing down process will apparently be “accelerated” and the membership vote conducted online. Betfair’s highly fluid betting odds suggest the following clear front-runners (odds shown below at time of writing), followed by a long tail of dark horses:
Rishi Sunak ($1.94). Former Chancellor of the Exchequer and the current back-bencher, Sunak was the favoured candidate of the parliamentary contingent to succeed Johnson, Sunak was voted down in favour of Truss by a party membership that was displeased by his role in bringing down Johnson and unconvinced by his argument that the unfunded tax cuts advocated by Truss would not go down well with markets. Only later did it become apparent that, as our very own Peta Credlin put it in The Australian yesterday, the markets were “driven by woke hedge-fund managers who have never forgiven the Tories for engineering Brexit”.
Penny Morduant ($5). Morduant was an early front-runner during the previous leadership process, but finished third in a tight race in the final ballot of the parliamentary membership. She served as Defence Secretary under Teresa May but was dumped when Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019, before returning to junior ministry positions the following February. Mordaunt won favour among the party membership as a long-standing Euroskeptic, but lost some of it for her progressive positions on transgender issues.
Boris Johnson ($5.90). The Times political editor Steven Swinford reports Johnson is “expected to stand”.