Andrea Leadsom’s chances of becoming the next Prime Minister have improved since Thursday following her easy win over Michael Gove in the second round of MP voting.
She now goes head-to-head with Theresa May in a Conservative members vote.
Leadsom had slipped during the week after increased scrutiny on her job experience in the City forced her to release her CV on Wednesday — which many still criticised for inaccuracies and omissions.
She then made a short speech on Thursday in which she encouraged voters to “ban the pessimists,” which some thought was so bad it might tip the balance in favour of her pro-Brexit rival Michael Gove a chance at overtaking her.
But in the end, Leadsom comfortably secured second place in the MP vote, managing 84 to Gove’s 46. Both were still massively behind Theresa May, who received 199 MP votes — but that might not matter for Leadsom as Conservative members will now decide by postal voting. The winner — and next Prime Minister — will be announced on September 9.
Although Leadsom’s betting odds have improved, May is still the firm favourite. Here are the final two candidate’s odds from the major bookies:
- Ladbrokes: May 1/5 — Leadsom 9/2
- William Hill: May 1/6 — Leadsom 4/1
- Betfair: May 1/5 — Leadsom 9/2
- Paddy Power: May 1/5 — Leadsom 4/1
- Sky Bet: May 1/4 — Leadsom 3/1
Despite the discrepancy in the odds, the final vote could be very close. Bookmakers gave a Vote Leave outcome odds of 3/1 on the eve of the EU referendum, which is what a few give Leadsom at the moment.
A YouGov poll for the Times suggests May is still the favourite among Conservative members with a 32 point lead, but polls were wrong about the Brexit vote too. With two months to go until voting concludes, it is possible Leadsom will shore up the Brexit hardliners who may be wary that Theresa May — who campaigned for Vote Leave — will not follow through on the UK leaving the EU if she takes power.
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