Tessa Jowell now outright favourite to be London Mayor

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The Guardian’s Dave Hill has written today about the race to be Labour’s candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral election. He gives a very favourable mention to Sadiq Khan’s chances, but it is Dame Tessa Jowell who is now favourite to be Labour candidate and has also edged ahead of Boris in the outright betting.

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If Boris doesn’t stand again, which almost everyone is assuming, it’s quite hard to see how the Labour candidate isn’t going to become Mayor. Lord Coe would be an interesting runner, but he’s shown no sign of wanting to get back into politics. We’ve seen a bit of money for George Galloway at 25/1; I could just about imagine him making a run-off, but surely he wouldn’t win a second round against a competent Labour alternative.

As things stand, Sadiq Khan would be a very bad result for Ladbrokes, as he’s been backed down from 33/1.

For the first time, UKIP now favourite to out-poll Lib Dems.

Nick Clegg And Nigel Farage Debate Britain's EU Membership

Just over two years ago, Ladbrokes opened a market on which of UKIP and the Liberal Democrats would get most votes at the next general election. We made UKIP 5/1.  Today, for the first time, they are now favourites to out-poll the Lib Dems.

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YouGov’s latest poll has UKIP ahead 14-8. Survation has it at an incredible 22-7.

There are many reasons for thinking that the Liberal Democrats will recover and UKIP drop down. But the lead that UKIP have had for many months shows no sign of diminishing right now.

What are the odds of the UK leaving the EU anytime soon? 20% say bookies.

CDU Holds Federal Party Congress

Has Jean Claude Juncker’s nomination pushed the UK nearer to an EU exit?

Maybe a little, but even so, it’s still fairly unlikely to happen during this decade. What are the odds?

First, we’d almost certainly need a referendum. Ladbrokes make that an odds-against chance before 2018, and if it hasn’t happened by then , it almost certainly won’t before the subsequent general election.

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So, based on those odds, I am going to assign a 40% probability to a referendum happening.

Then, the UK population have to decide to vote to leave.

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Let’s go with a 50% chance of a decision to exit. I don’t think that is a particularly generous assessment, given that it’s quite likely that the leadership of all the main parties will be campaigning for remaining a member. Most major business interests are likely to be on the same side.

So, taking just those two conditions together, we’ve got a probability of 0.4 x 0.5 = 0.2 i.e. 20%. Which is perhaps a little less likely than you might imagine had you been reading certain commentators in today’s papers.

 

 

 

Five seats the Lib Dems might GAIN in 2015.

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Most people will scoff at the idea that the Liberal Democrats could win any new seats at next year’s general election. But, according to political punters, they have a few chances. Here are five of the most interesting possibilities:

1. Montgomeryshire. Conservative majority 1,184

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In terms of the odds, this was the biggest shock result of the 2010 election, as the Tories wiped out a 7,000 Lib Dem majority. Perhaps this was not entirely unconnected to the identity of the sitting MP, Lembit Opik. Some are expecting a turnaround with a new candidate.

2. Watford. Conservative majority 1,425.

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A desperately tight three way marginal; the Lib Dems easily retained the mayoralty last month. In Lord Ashcroft’s constituency specific polling, they were just 5 points behind the Tories.

3. Oxford West & Abingdon. Conservative majority 176.

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Another relatively surprising loss in 2010, this seat will certainly still be a target for the Lib Dems, although the Ashcroft polling puts them 11 pts behind the Tories.

4. Ashfield. Labour majority 192.

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It might seem extremely improbable that the Lib Dems could gain a Labour seat in the current circumstances but, if there is to be one, this could be it. The local party did an incredible job getting so close in 2010 and, based on the betting we’ve seen, have not given up hope here.

5. Maidstone & The Weald. Conservative majority 5,889

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The least likely in our list, but Ladbrokes have seen money for the Lib Dems to oust sitting MP Helen Grant. She hasn’t been without her critics and the Lib Dem vote seems to have held up in local elections here.

 

Will there really be an early EU Referendum if Juncker gets the job?

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There have been reports that Cameron has been threatening to bring forward the date of his planned In/Out EU referendum if Jean Claude Juncker gets the job of President of the EU Commission. Ladbrokes have pulled the market on Juncker’s chances, as that now looks like a certainty.

If anyone thinks these reports are true and this is any more than a bluff, you can back a 2015 or 2016 referendum at nice prices.

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Of course, the biggest obstacle to a referendum happening is that the Tories need to still be in government after the next election.

 

What are the odds that Ed goes for Coulson in PMQs?

<> on September 24, 2013 in Brighton, England.

Ladbrokes have some odds on what Ed Miliband will mention first during Prime Minister’s Questions today. It’s Evens that “Coulson” gets a mention before any of the other options we’ve listed.

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Cameron will obviously be prepared for the questions relating to Andy Coulson but I guess there’s a chance that Ed will open up on foreign policy instead.

A note on the rules; we will settle on the first word used in Miliband’s actual questions and disregard any preamble. If none of the terms are mentioned, all bets are losers.

 Result Update:

Ed went straight in with Coulson.

 

Is Bez going to be the next MP for Salford?

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Ladbrokes quote the former Happy Mondays dancer and now political activist at 25/1 to win the Salford & Eccles seat at the general election.

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There will be hundreds of Independent candidates running at the next election. The vast majority of them will get under 5% and lose their deposit. There are only two examples of genuine Indies winning seats in recent times. (I’m excluding non-aligned former politicians such as Dai Davies in Blaenau Gwent).

  • Richard Taylor. Wyre Forest 2001 & 2005. Running on a single issue platform relating to the local hospital, he was helped by the Lib Dems standing aside in his favour.
  • Martin Bell. Tatton 1997. He ran as an alternative to sitting Tory MP Neil Hamilton, who’d become caught up in “sleaze” allegations. Labour & the Lib Dems stood aside.

Bez has got a few things running for him that most Independents don’t have:

  • Name recognition. He’ll already be known to the majority of the voters in Salford. He’s also quite a popular guy as evidenced by his 2005 Celebrity Big Brother victory.
  • Early start. He’s going about this the right way by launching his campaign well in advance of the election, rather than just rocking up three weeks before the vote with a few leaflets. His Reality Party stood in the Irlam ward on Salford council last month and got a very respectable 17% of the vote.
  • Retiring MP. Hazel Blears is standing down and thus Labour will need to field an inexperienced and possibly little known candidate in her place.

I suspect Bez will do a lot better than some other “celebrity” candidates and wouldn’t be that surprised if he could get 10% or so, which would actually be a very creditable result. This is a very low turnout seat (55% in 2010); perhaps if he can motivate a lot of previous non-voters he might do even better than that.