Andrea Leadsom — a Conservative MP many people had not heard of just a couple of months ago — is now the strong second-favourite to become the UK’s next prime minister, according to bookmakers.
Leadsom raced past Michael Gove in the betting odds on Friday and her chances have surged even more over the weekend.
Gove, who surprised everyone last week by announcing his leadership bid — which effectively forced Vote Leave associate Boris Johnson out of the running — is now a distant third, as accusations of him being a “back-stabber” continue to mount.
Despite Leadsom’s surge, Home Secretary Theresa May is still the firm favourite and has already secured the backing of at least 96 Tory MPs.
Leadsom has come under intense media scrutiny since emerging as a real contender to take over from David Cameron, with the Mail on Sunday calling her a “hypocrite” for saying in 2013 that a Brexit would be “a disaster for our economy and it would lead to a decade of economic and political uncertainty at a time when the tectonic plates of global success are moving.”
Here are the current odds on the top three contenders from the major bookmakers:
- Ladbrokes: May 1/3 — Leadsom 3/1 — Gove 12/1
- William Hill: May 3/10 — Leadsom 11/4 — Gove 11/1
- Betfair: May 1/3 — Leadsom 3/1 — Gove — 12/1
- Paddy Power: May 1/3 — Leadsom 11/4 — Gove — 12/1
- Sky Bet: May 1/3 — Leadsom 11/4 — Gove — 12/1
While Leadsom may seem a long way behind May at this point, it is worth remembering that bookmakers had a Remain vote as the favourite right up until the referendum. They admitted afterwards that they underestimated the strength of the Brexit voters on the day.