UK Politics: Bettors think Tories can survive fall in popularity

Education secretary Gavin Williamson
Williamson looks unlikely to resign
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The government's popularity falls to its lowest this year, there's good news for the SNP and odds indicate the Lib Dem leadership is a foregone conclusion reports Max Liu...

"Bettors are confident there’ll be no referendum on Scottish independence before 2025 – making it [1.95] – even though a poll this week projected an exact reversal of the outcome of the 2014 vote."

Nobody likes us and we don't care - until election time. Is that the Tories' mantra? You might think so after polling this week showed public approval for the government at its lowest level this year while on the Exchange the Conservatives stayed odds-on to win the next general election.

Polling conducted by YouGov, at the beginning of this week at the height of the A level fiasco, showed 49% disapproved of the government and only 29% approved - a steeping dropping off from their all-time high of 66% approval in April at the height of the pandemic in the UK.

Among Exchange bettors, however, there appears to be the belief that the Conservatives can survive such fluctuations in their popularity and they're [1.82] to take the most seats next time Britons go to the polls, although the chances of them winning another majority are rated only 32% at odds of [3.15].

But the latter price starts to look appealing when you consider that, on the eve of last year's general election, public approval for Boris Johnson's government stood at 27%. That didn't stop them winning the Conservatives biggest majority since 1987. Baffling, I know.

Perhaps this faith in the Tories' electability, against a Labour opposition that is yet to set out its alternatives, is why member of the current government don't resign. Labour haven't even called for the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to lose his job, even though polling by the same firm showed 40% wanted him to go and just 21 per cent wanted him to stay.

Earlier this year, when housing secretary Robert Jenrick was embroiled in a scandal, 39% thought he should resign (he stayed), while 59% wanted Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings to resign after he broke lockdown rules in May (he stayed).

Government to extend vote rights at IndyRef2?

Bettors are confident there'll be no referendum on Scottish independence before 2025 - making it [1.95] - even though a poll this week projected an exact reversal of the outcome of the 2014 vote.

The poll, which was commissioned for Panelbase by a pro-independence business group, was hailed by some independence supporters as a turning point for their campaign. The SNP will aim to consolidate their power at next year's Scottish Parliament elections for which some polls show them winning a record number of MSPs.

At the same time as the poll appeared, however, the Scottish former-MP George Galloway - once of Labour then of the Respect Party and a stint on Celebrity Big Brother - called for voting rights in a future referendum to be extended to Scots living elsewhere in the UK - an idea for which he found an unlikely ally:

That a UK government minister as senior as Gove even responded to the suggestion lead to speculation that another referendum might not be as unlikely as the Exchange odds indicated.

On Sports book, meanwhile, Scots are 50/50 to choose independence if and when they next vote on the matter.

Davey firm favourite to be permanent Lib Dem leader

This Thursday will see the conclusion of a contest that feels like it's dragged on for even longer than the football season: we will finally learn the identity of the next Liberal Democrat leader.

The Lib Dems began the search for a new leader after former-leader Jo Swinson lost her seat at the 2019 general election. The party won only 11 MPs.

At the time, Layla Moran, who only became an MP in 2017, was regarded as the candidate who could take the party forward with fresh ideas and help it put its time in coalition with the Tories firmly in the past.

As the contest nears its conclusion, however, Moran has drifted to [5.1] to win with Ed Davey [1.22], who's been standing in as interim leader, the firm favourite to get the job permanently.

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