Five shortest-serving leaders of the opposition

Jeremy Corbyn leaves Labour party HQ in London
Jeremy Corbyn leaves Labour party HQ in London
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WITH bookies already taking bets on the next Labour leader, the odds on Jeremy Corbyn ever reaching Downing Street appear to be lengthening.

Ladbrokes put the veteran left-winger’s chances at 8-1, while Betfred is offering shorter odds of 4-1 on Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis replacing him.

Mr Corbyn will only have to remain in office until next summer to avoid the ignominy of becoming the shortest-serving post-war leader of the opposition.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home holds the record, having occupied the post for just nine months between October 1964 and July 1965, when he was succeeded by Edward Heath.

Sir Alec is also the shortest-serving post-war prime minister, holding office for exactly one day short of a year, at which point he lost the election to Harold Wilson.

Excluding prime ministers such as James Callaghan, John Major and Gordon Brown, who announced their resignation as party leader soon after losing an election, the other shortest-serving opposition leaders in recent times are Conservatives Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard (26 months and 25 months respectively), and Labour firebrand Michael Foot (35 months).

Labour’s John Smith died in office in 1994, after 22 months in the post.

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