Penny Mordaunt is the new favourite to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative leader, according to the latest prices on the Smarkets betting exchange.
Having been rated as just a 2 per cent chance at the start of the year, the former defence secretary is now up to 13 per cent, joining Jeremy Hunt at the top of the market.
However, the prospects of a vacancy this year have decreased dramatically in the last seven days; the odds of Johnson being evicted from No.10 this year are down from 50 per cent to 29 per cent since last week’s confidence vote.
Elsewhere, the odds of the Tories losing both of next week’s parliamentary by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton now stand at 78 per cent.
Smarkets head of political markets, Matthew Shaddick, said: “Penny Mordaunt has hit the front in the Tory leadership race, but the chance of a contest happening this year are now starting to look quite slim. Despite talk of Boris Johnson being fatally wounded by last week’s vote, the betting markets think there is just a 29 per cent chance of him being removed in 2022.
“Mordaunt becomes the fourth different Tory to head the market this year, along with Jeremy Hunt, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. In truth, the next leader race is still wide open and the lack of any strong front-runner is one of the reasons that bettors think it is unlikely Johnson will be removed any time soon.
“Johnson is by no means clear of trouble however – the odds suggest there is a 78 per cent chance that the Conservatives will lose both the Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton by-elections next week.”