With John Bercow announcing yesterday that he is stepping down as Speaker of the House – a MC of sorts for the UK parliament when in session – bookmakers have today been publishing their odds for his replacement.
Bercow is expected to leave his role no later than October 31st, the date on which the UK is currently scheduled to leave the UK – although it is far from clear that it will.
Among the pack to replace him is Harriet Harrman, Labor MP for Camberwell and Peckham since 1982, who is quoted at odds of 11/4 by Paddy Power [implied probability 26.7%]; the current Deputy Speaker Lindsay Choyle, MP for Chorley, is the outright favourite, quoted at evens [implied probability 50%] by most bookmakers.
However, Harrman appears to qualify as the outstanding value bet in the field for a string of reasons.
As a previous cabinet minister and former (temporary) leader of the Labour Party, she enjoys a much higher profile both within parliament and amongst the general public. She is a figure for whom controversy has been a conspicuous feature over the course of a 40 year career in politics if only for its absence, leaving aside dogged recidivist tendencies for minor driving offences.
And with a largely inoffensive stature, she arguably qualifies as the least unpalatable choice amongst the one third of MPs in parliament who fall into the Brexiteer camp and who had raised a number of concerns over the alleged bias of Bercow in recent months with regards to parliamentary proceedings around Brexit.