Andrea Leadsom’s odds of becoming the next Prime Minister are better than ever despite the worst weekend of her campaign so far.
Leadsom has spent the last two days defending comments made in a Times interview in which she said that her Conservative rival Theresa May must be “really sad” about not being able to have children and that she felt “being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”
Since then about twenty Tory MPs told the Sunday Times that they would “jump ship” if Leadsom became the party’s leader. But Leadsom’s camp hit back, with Iain Duncan Smith telling ITV’s Robert Peston that there was “a real black ops operation to denigrate her reputation.”
Leadson has since told the Telegraph that she apologised to May, saying: “I’ve already said to Theresa how very sorry I am for any hurt I have caused and how that article said completely the opposite of what I said and believe.
“I was pressed to say how my children had formed my views. I didn’t want it to be used as an issue. Having children has no bearing on the ability to be PM. I deeply regret that anyone has got the impression that I think otherwise.”
But it seems even this episode has given a boost to Leadsom’s leadership odds. Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill, said on Saturday that since Michael Gove dropped out of the race almost 76% of all bets were now on Leadsom — and it was a pattern similar to Brexit betting:
“We are seeing virtually the same pattern as in the Referendum betting, with the huge majority of the bets coming in for the outsider, even though the great majority of the money staked is for the odds-on favourite — and we all know what result that presaged. That pattern began on Thursday and has continued ever since.”
Here are the odds from the main bookmakers on the next Conservative leader:
- Ladbrokes: May 2/9 — Leadsom 10/3
- William Hill: May 1/4 — Leadsom 3/1
- Betfair: May 1/5 — Leadsom 10/3
- Paddy Power: May 1/5 — Leadsom 11/4
- Sky Bet: May 1/5 — Leadsom 7/2