Boris Johnson Resignation Blows UK Gambling Reforms Off Course

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Boris Johnson Resignation Blows UK Gambling Reforms Off Course

Boris Johnson quit as British prime minister Thursday. He finally acknowledged that the mass resignation of senior MPs and aides in his own party over the past 48 hours had made his position untenable.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
“Them’s the Breaks:” Brits finally get to see the back of the famous tousled blond mop. But who’s next, according to the bookies? (Image: BBC)

The final straw was Johnson’s false insistence that he had been unaware of sexual misconduct allegations against a key ally when he appointed him to a major government role in February. The allegations against Chris Pincher surfaced after the MP was accused of drunkenly groping two men at a distinguished London private members club on June 29.

As of 10am UK time, 59 members of Johnson’s Conservative Party had quit, many realizing that continued support of the prime minister amid snowballing unpopularity could signal career death.

It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” said Johnson outside Number 10 this morning. “In Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when it moves, it moves.”

“Them’s the breaks,” he added.

Radical Reforms

The chaos at the heart of government will almost certainly delay the publication of a white paper on gambling reforms, previously expected before July 22.

That’s not least because Chris Philp, the minister responsible for gambling, was one of the 59 who resigned.

Philp mentioned the white paper in his resignation speech.

“The gambling review is with No 10 at the moment for final approval, containing strong measures to protect people from the ravages of gambling addiction,” he said.

The paper is expected to recommend MPs legislate to introduce the most radical reforms of the UK online gambling industry since market liberalization in 2005. The industry is bracing itself for a significant tightening of controls on one of the most liberal regulated markets in the world.

It may have to brace itself a little longer. But in the meantime, it’s offering markets on – guess what? – the next British Prime Minister.

Ben Wallace Favorite

Johnson’s resignation will trigger a contest to replace him as leader of the Conservative party. The winner will become prime minister without the need for a general election.

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was installed as the bookies’ new favorite. That’s apparently based on a poll of party members by Tory news site ConservativeHome, although it’s not yet clear if Wallace even plans to stand for leadership. Nevertheless, he is currently around 3/1 to become the next PM.

Wallace is closely followed at 5/1 by Rishi Sunak, who resigned as chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday. Married to the daughter of an Indian billionaire, Sunak would be the UK’s first racial-minority head of government.

Third favorite is former defense secretary and ardent “Brexiteer” Penny Mordaunt at 6/1. Mordaunt would be the UK’s third female prime minister, but the first – as far as we know — to have once held a job as a magician’s assistant.

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