Well, what a turn up for the books: Coral has just slashed its odds in half to 8-1 (from 16-1) on Boris Johnson making a return to Number 10 to replace Liz Truss as prime minister.
After yesterday’s dire PMQs performance by Truss and her apparently dreadful outing at the 1922 committee, it’s perhaps no surprise that the bookmaker has slashed its odds. Tory MPs are deeply divided over whether she should stay or she should go.
Indeed, some of the Tory MPs most aghast at what has happened to the economy since Truss took over reckon that another regicide might be too much even for the most ruthless among them. Indeed, one MP told the New Statesman that the PM has a “few months or a year,” which, it must be said, is a fairly broad prediction.
Her closest allies agree. “Changing the leadership would be a disastrously bad idea,” foreign secretary and Truss faithful James Cleverly said this morning.
According to Politico, the consensus is that Truss will not face a challenge before Christmas – so she she can begin planning her Downing Street Christmas decorations after all. For one thing, Truss is protected from a leadership challenge for 12 months from her appointment as PM. Well, technically protected.
If, however, the party turns against her overwhelmingly, the rules will mean little. The men in white coats hiding their daggers visiting Truss at No 10 is the more likely approach, suggesting that she steps down for the sake of party – and country- unity. Without the option of a leadership election, those who wish to oust Truss must find a candidate that can unify the poles of the party. Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome has billed the two closest runners in the leadership contest as the most likely replacements. Goodman says one idea doing the rounds is that Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak, who, after all, between them got pretty much two-thirds of the votes of MPs, come to some kind of arrangement and essentially take over.
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Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, is another name being mentioned. Wallace topped many of the Tory party members polls but decided against standing. Who knows, he may be persuaded should there be a vacancy. And then, course, there is the return of Boris. Time to place your bets.