Michael Gove rocketed up the betting odds this morning after unexpectedly announcing his Conservative leadership bid.
Some bookmakers, such as Ladbrokes, already have him tied with the previous favourite Boris Johnson, just a few minutes after his announcement.
But both are still behind Theresa May who recently overtook Johnson to become the odds-on favourite.
The Home Secretary, who backed the “Remain” side in last week’s EU referendum, saw her odds shorten after a YouGov poll on Tuesday suggested the general public would actually prefer her to Johnson — who was long considered to be the favourite.
Despite May’s strong odds, William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe noted that just over 50% of the money staked on the next Tory leader was still on Johnson and that the betting market was getting intense.
“Our turnover on the outcome of the leadership race is already approaching six figures. We have seen a string of four figure bets for Boris,the largest for £2000 ($2,681), while the support for Theresa has slowed significantly and the biggest bet for her today was £454,” he said.
If the betting on the result of the EU referendum is anything to go by, this could bode well for May. Bets on “Remain” were far larger than those on “Leave,” but the UK ended up voting for a Brexit.
Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb’s odds have also massively shortened since announcing his leadership bid on Wednesday, though he is still a long shot behind the main three.
Here are the current odds from the main bookmakers on who will be the next Tory leader:
- Ladbrokes — May 10/11 — Johnson 4/1 — Gove — 4/1
- William Hill — May 8/13 — Johnson 3/1 — Gove 7/2
- Betfair — May 5/6 — Johnson 3/1 — Gove — 7/2
- Paddy Power — May 5/6 — Johnson 3/1 — Gove — 9/4
- Sky Bet — May 11/10 — Johnson — 7/2 — Gove — 3/1
On the Labour front, one-time favourite Tom Watson has fallen way down in the betting since announcing on Wednesday that he will not make a leadership bid.
This means Angela Eagle — who is expected to announce her leadership bid this afternoon — is now the bookies’ favourite to be the next Labour leader, with odds of 9/4 and 11/8 from Ladbrokes and William Hill respectively.
But it looks like Eagle has a battle on her hands — current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has claimed he is not going anywhere despite an overwhelming vote of No Confidence from his MPs this week, adding that he still has the backing of Labour members behind him.