The SNP leader and Scottish first minister is facing calls to resign and the odds on her departure are shortening ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections reports Max Liu...
"Sturgeon is 6/4 to leave as first minister this year and 1/2 to still be in her post at the start of next year."
The odds on Nicola Sturgeon leaving her post as First Minister of Scotland in 2021 shortened amid calls for her to resign this weekend. This followed reports that a majority of MSPs on the Alex Salmond inquiry committee have said Sturgeon misled them.
The price on an SNP majority at the 6 May Scottish Parliament elections is out to evens on the Sportsbook although Exchange bettors are still backing Sturgeon's party to cross the all-important 65 seat mark at 1.768/11. You can back No Majority at 2.1411/10.
The committee has been investigating whether or not Sturgeon was ever prepared to intervene in the earlier investigation into harassment complaints against Alex Salmond. Sturgeon says she was not while Salmond says she was and both gave lengthy testimony to the committee to that effect.
The former-allies are locked in a feud, with Salmond claiming people close to Sturgeon waged a campaign against him.
Sources told the BBC this week that the committee, which is made up of nine MSPs and is expected to deliver its report on Tuesday, had already voted by five to four that Sturgeon had given them an inaccurate account.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross called for Sturgeon to resign as first minister while, in England, Labour leader Keir Starmer said she should go if she was found to have broken the ministerial code.
Sturgeon is 6/4 to leave as first minister this year and 1/2 to still be in her post at the start of next year.
SNP majority on the drift
The latest developments come little more than six weeks before Scottish Parliament elections which some commentators claim will shape the future of the UK.
On the Sportsbook an SNP majority was 1/4 when I reported on the market a fortnight ago - now, as mentioned, it's out to evens.
This was in line with the latest data from Opinium, the polling firm which claimed this week:
"While still showing an incredibly large lead for the SNP - 22 points on the Constituency vote and 20 points on the regional list vote - our poll indicates that it would be touch and go whether the SNP would get a majority."
Sturgeon has said she would see a majority as a mandate to call for another referendum on Scottish independence.
Polls have indicated recently that support for independence is waning from the clear majorities it enjoyed in polling throughout the second-half of 2020.
You can get evens on Scots choosing independence at the next referendum, whenever it takes place, and 8/11 on a vote to stay in the union.
This week polling was published which suggested the wording of the question could be vital at any such referendum:
NEW: Poll by @Survation on behalf of @scotlandinunion shows that if you ask Scots whether they wish to remain/leave the UK...? Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) March 17, 2021
57% would vote remain
43% would vote leave
In 2014 the question was Yes/No to independence. Formation of question in any 2nd ref could be important.
Cummeth the inquiry cometh the aggrieved former-adviser?
The government is under pressure to open a public inquiry into the UK's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, as a Guardian poll this week showed support was more than twice as high as opposition.
If so, it will be interesting to see what Dominic Cummings tells the inquiry, especially as this week the prime minister's former chief adviser said MPs should investigate "why things went so catastrophically wrong" at the start of the pandemic.
Cummings is reportedly out for revenge against the Johnson government, which he left in the autumn, and number ten are said to be "terrified".
As discussed last week the Tories are enjoying a poll bounce which has seen them cut to 2.727/4 to win a majority at the next general election. For much of 2020 that outcome was on the drift and Cummings trip to Barnard Castle, when he allegedly broke lockdown rules, was cited as a major factor.
Will he return to wreck them from the outside this time? It remains to be seen but, in the meantime, the government's popularity will be tested in another part of the north east at the Hartlepool by-election.
The Tories are 2.0621/20 to take the seat from Labour 1.9620/21 who have held it for 60 years. As you can see from those odds, it's on a knife-edge so read Paul Krishnamurty's in-depth analysis of the early prices.