Is Rishi Sunak on course to take over from Boris Johnson? Odds stack up against PM

Rishi Sunak insists UK will not return to austerity

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Boris Johnson is expected to announce his decision on National Insurance tax rises to fund reforms to the social care system this week – something he promised during the 2019 general election campaign he would never do. And with Chancellor Rishi Sunak said to have been pushing hard for better alternatives in negotiations, it’s evident he is now far more popular than the Prime Minister with Tories and the public, leaving him poised to snap up the top job.

Rumours of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle are rife in Westminster, as the Prime Minister’s team scrambles to contain an all-out mutiny among members of the top team.

According to a source in the Mail Online, Mr Johnson is struggling to find any supporters for his plan, and it’s left him vulnerable.

The insider said: “I’ve seen it reported that five Cabinet ministers are opposed to the idea.

“The truth is you would struggle to find five of us who are in favour. We made a promise not to raise taxes and we have to honour it.”

They added:  “If we go down this road it will come back and bite us, whatever No 10’s polling might tell them. People are very unforgiving when it comes to tax.”

And a Treasury source said: “The PM is in invincible mode in meetings.

“Rishi’s team has proposed a series of cheaper alternatives but none works for the PM.”

Suggestions of a “showdown” between the two men are growing, with many expecting it to come after Mr Sunak’s October budget.

So will Rishi be the new PM?

According to polling and betting sites, odds are on for Rish Sunak to be the new British Prime Minister in no time.

A poll of Tory activists for the Website Conservative Home – usually a reliable picture of party mood and direction – has Mr Sunak as by far the favourite to take over, with more than 30 percent of those polled voting for the Chancellor.

And amongst the general public, Mr Sunak polls higher than Mr Johnson on popularity.

YouGov has the Chancellor with a popularity rating of 42 percent, against the Prime Minister’s 34 percent.

Some 30 percent of the public believe Mr Sunak is doing a good job, against 21 percent who don’t – this gap has closed slightly since the self-isolation scandal in the summer, but is recovering.

Bookmakers also have strong odds on Mr Sunak taking the top job.

With Ladbrokes giving Mr Johnson odds of being replaced in the next year of 7/2, Mr Sunak is up first with odds of 11/4 to take his job.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “BoJo’s odds of being replaced in the next 12 months are so are much shorter than perhaps he’d have liked.

“While Keir Starmer is just 4/1 to replace him in Number 10, the latest betting suggests Rishi Sunak will be the next PM.”

Time will tell whether these odds manifest and Mr Sunak indeed ends up in Number 10.

The next big moment to watch will be Mr Sunak’s October budget, which is expected to bring to a head disagreements between the Treasury and Tory MPs.

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