Brexit leader Nigel Farage is running neck and neck with Sir Mark Sedwill, the head of the British civil service, as favorite among bookmakers to become London’s next ambassador to Washington.
Sir Kim Darroch resigned amid a transatlantic diplomatic crisis following the leak of confidential cables in which he described President Trump as “inept” and his Iran strategy as “incoherent” and “chaotic.”
The result is a slew of speculation about his replacement at a time when the post will be central to shaping Britain’s place in the world after Brexit. Dozens of names, from hard-line Brexiteers to senior diplomats, are in the running.
That debate has seen Farage, the leader of Britain’s Brexit Party, installed as the 3/1 favorite to replace Darroch with bookmaker Betfair.
However, he is at 10/1 with Ladbrokes and 33/1 with Betway — which is more in line with political commentators who see his lack of experience, populist approach, and the fact he is not a member of the ruling Conservative Party as a handicap to securing one of the top jobs in the British foreign service.
Instead, Sedwill is running at 3/1 with Ladbrokes, one of Britain’s biggest bookmakers. He is a confidant of Theresa May, the prime minister, and was long viewed as the replacement when Darroch was due to step down at the end of the year.
But he is known to be reluctant on Brexit, warning MPs that leaving the EU could trigger a recession, and generating speculation that the leak of cables may actually have been designed to knock Sedwill out of the running by sabotaging an orderly transition.
Richard Tice, an entrepreneur who serves as chairman of the Brexit Party and who was elected a member of the European Parliament this year, is at 6/1.
Dame Barbara Woodward, the first woman to serve as British ambassador to China, Michael Tatham, the current deputy ambassador to Washington, and Farage are all at 10/1.
Betway has installed Sir Sebastian Wood, the ambassador to Germany, as the 11/2 favorite with Edward Llewellyn, the ambassador to France, at 13/2.
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