Bookies suspend Tory leadership markets


Most bookmakers in the UK have suspended their markets on a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership as Conservative Party turmoil continues into the weekend.

Political betting markets went through a turbulent period of trading at the end of the week, following the shock resignation of Dominic Raab as Brexit Secretary. Raab had been among the Cabinet ministers who had initially agreed to back the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal at a five hour meeting earlier in the week, but became the latest minister to quit, saying that he couldn’t stand by the draft EU-withdrawal agreement.

On Saturday, there were reports that over 20 Conservative MPs had sent in letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee, chaired by Sir Graham Brady. Under Conservative Party rules, when 15 percent of MPs support a no confidence motion, a leadership election is triggered. Given the current Parliamentary arithmetic, that means 48 MPs are required to start the process.

Odds slashed

Paddy Power was one of a number of bookmakers to take the step of suspending their markets on the likelihood of a no confidence vote. According to the bookmaker, odds on a leadership election had dropped from 5/2 early in the week to 1/3 and had then been slashed further to 1/10 on Friday as money continued to pour in from political betting punters.

Yet there is still some good news for the Prime Minister. Paddy Power has priced her chances of surviving a leadership challenge at 1/2 and her odds of losing are as high as 6/4.

Announcing the suspension, the bookmaker said that they had had no choice but to suspend the market, given the speed of events:

With letters flying in from disillusioned Tory lawmakers, we’ve been forced to completely stop taking bets on a vote of no confidence taking place against the Prime Minister.”

Andie Hughes

Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at