With Theresa May’s premiership teetering on the edge and rumours persisting of a Tory cabinet coup, Michael Gove, current Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has emerged as the bookies’ outright favourite to succeed May as PM.
Whilst Gove has denied rumours that he himself has been one of the main organising forces of what appears to be the British Prime Minister’s imminent demise, betting markets have been reading the situation differently and have installed Gove as outright favourite at 3/1 for becoming the UK’s next Prime Minister in what analysts consider will likely be a temporary, so-called ‘caretaker’ move into the role.
Brexit has served up a long series of oddities and contradictions on the British political landscape over the last two years, but the emergence of Gove as outright favourite to lead the UK ranks as one of its most bizarre outcomes.
Gove is a largely unpopular and disliked figure both within and without the Tory party and currently enjoys a national positive approval rating of no more than 12% according to YouGov.
However, whilst that approval rating may seem poor in absolute terms, it is his relative rating amongst his cabinet peers that has allowed the man who was once referred to as the “Tory Brutus” to emerge as the UK’s most likely candidate for the top job – far ahead of nearest rivals Boris Johnson (6/1) and David Lidlington (12/1).
Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn had emerged as the bookies’ outright favourite back in January. However, after a speech last week which alienated her few remaining cabinet allies, May – who survived a leadership challenge in December which ostensibly left her immune to any further such challenges for another twelve months – appears now to be living on borrowed time within her own party.