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Nigel Farage is a contender for next UK ambassador to the US — according to bookmakers

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Nigel Farage smiles as he attends the European Parliament on July 4, 2019. Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has emerged as an outside contender to become the next UK ambassador to the US, following the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch on Wednesday.

Ladbrokes were offering odds on 10/1 on Farage to become ambassador on Wednesday, making him the third favourite. Betfair make Farage the favourite to replace Darroch, at odds of 3/1.

Farage was evasive when asked in a radio interview on Monday whether he would take the job. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he wasn’t “the right man for that job” but said he could “help forge a better, closer relationship in terms of intelligence, security and trade with an administration that contains friends of mine.”

Farage has a close relationship with Trump. Whilst on the campaign trail in 2016, Trump invited the then-UKIP leader to speak at one of his rallies and he tweeted shortly after his election that Farage would do a “great job” as ambassador to the US.

The speculation on Farage’s appointment comes after the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch earlier on Wednesday. Darroch said in his resignation letter it had become “impossible” to do his job after diplomatic cables were leaked over the weekend.

READ MORE: Kim Darroch resigns: Boris Johnson blamed for UK ambassador quitting over row with Donald Trump

Darroch called the Trump administration “inept” in the leaked documents, which prompted the US President to call him a “very stupid guy” on Twitter. The final straw came after likely future Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to defend Darroch in a TV debate on Tuesday evening.

Theresa May, who defended Darroch until the end, said on Tuesday that: “He had given a lifetime of service to the UK and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude.”

While Betfair and Ladbrokes give Farage relatively short odds, others see his appointment as less likely. Betway are offering odds of 33/1 on his appointment and trade on betting exchange Smarkets suggest punters think there is just a 2% chance of him landing the role.

Mark Sedwell, the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, as emerged as an early favourite to become the next UK ambassador to the US. Betfair offer odds on 5/1 on Sedwell, while Ladbrokes offer 3/1.

Other early names to emerge include Sir Sebastian Wood, the current ambassador to Germany, and deputy US ambassador Michael Tatham.

Odds are also being offered on former Prime Ministers David Cameron and Tony Blair, as well as former Chancellor George Osborne, although all are outsiders.