The probability of a 2019 UK general election has jumped from 25% to 33% as news emerged late yesterday afternoon that Boris Johnson has won the first stage of the Tory leadership contest to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister this coming summer.
The change in the probability estimation was tracked on the Smarkets trading platform which employs a Wisdom-of-the-Crowd methodology to calculate probabilities on a range of political outcomes.
Bojo Shooting Himself in the Foot?
Whilst Johnson himself will be naturally unwilling to take his party into an election before the Conservative Party’s current mandate ends in 2022, it is the former Foreign Secretary’s avowedly firm stance on adhering to the current Brexit deadline of October that has, according to some analysts, rendered an early election more likely.
Whatever the ultimate proposition for a Johnson-led Brexit may transpire to be – and that may yet still be a No Deal after the defeat of a Labour Party-led cross-party motion on Thursday to prevent a No Deal outcome – it will nonetheless be highly unlikely to achieve majority support in parliament.
And in that instance, according to Jeremy Hunt – arguably the only viable contender to Johnson in the race to replace Theresa May – a General Election would be required to “change the parliamentary arithmetic” – in other words, Johnson may come to the conclusion that a general election will be the only option for breaking the same impasse that led him to the job in the first place.
Ladbrokes has cut its odds of a 2019 general election from 9/4 to 15/8, reflecting a similar move by most other British bookmakers offering a market on the outcome.