The 4 seats Labour are forecast to gain in Yorkshire

Labour lost nine seats in the Yorkshire/Humber region in 2010. Today, Ladbrokes are forecasting that they will regain just four of those at the next general election. Below is a list of the seats most at risk of changing hands, along with the “lose percentage” which is the chance of the incumbent party being defeated, based on Ladbrokes individual constituency odds.

Seat Winner 2010 Maj% 2010 Lose Chance Prediction
Bradford East Lib-Dem 0.9 85.24% LAB GAIN
Pudsey Conservative 3.4 70.16% LAB GAIN
Dewsbury Conservative 2.8 69.59% LAB GAIN
Keighley Conservative 6.2 54.71% LAB GAIN
Elmet & Rothwell Conservative 8.1 44.09% CON HOLD
Colne Valley Conservative 8.8 43.74% CON HOLD
Cleethorpes Conservative 9.6 42.37% CON HOLD
Calder Valley Conservative 12.4 40.25% CON HOLD
Leeds North West Lib-Dem 20.9 30.96% LD HOLD
Bradford West Labour 14.2 27.55% LAB REGAIN
Sheffield Hallam Lib-Dem 29.9 27.10% LD HOLD
Brigg and Goole Conservative 11.7 26.44% CON HOLD
Great Grimsby Labour 2.2 24.96% LAB HOLD
Scarborough & Whitby Conservative 16.5 23.66% CON HOLD
Halifax Labour 3.4 22.52% LAB HOLD
Morley & Outwood Labour 2.3 20.14% LAB HOLD
Rotherham Labour 27.9 20.04% LAB HOLD

Bradford East looks like an extremely likely pick up for Labour, with sitting MP David Ward coming under criticism for some recent remarks about the Middle East. George Galloway is a 3/1 underdog to hold on to Bradford West for Respect after his stunning 2012 by-election victory. It’s a slightly uncomfortable point to make, but if the situation in Gaza is still a major issue in May 2015, that would probably increase his chances if he decides to stand again.

Pudsey, Dewsbury & Keighley are three seats that Labour have to be winning if Ed Miliband is to have any chance of becoming PM. If they are to ensure a majority, they probably need to be winning some of the seats further down the list as well.

The Lib Dem majority in Leeds North West should be enough to see them hold on. Likewise for Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam although he is by no means a certainty to be returning to Westminster. After his very narrow win in 2010, Ed Balls looks a lot safer in Morley & Outwood this time.

UKIP have emerged as very plausible challengers for the Labour held seat of Great Grimsby, with Austin Mitchell retiring. Rotherham has also become a realistic target for them after their spectacular gains in the town at May’s local elections.




The seven seats Labour are set to gain in the East Midlands in 2015

The East Midlands could be a crucial battleground at the general election, with a host of Labour/Tory marginals. Based on Ladbrokes’ current odds on every constituency, we are forecasting that Labour will gain seven seats straight from the Conservatives. Below is a list of those seats, along with others that we calculate are at most risk. The “lose chance” is the probability, according to our odds, that the incumbent party will be defeated. TCTC = Too Close To Call.

Seat 2010 Winner 2010 Maj % Lose Chance Prediction
Sherwood Conservative 0.4 79.79% LAB GAIN
Broxtowe Conservative 0.7 75.34% LAB GAIN
Amber Valley Conservative 1.2 66.86% LAB GAIN
Lincoln Conservative 2.3 70.40% LAB GAIN
Corby Conservative 3.5 77.91% LAB GAIN
Northampton North Conservative 4.8 59.79% LAB GAIN
Erewash Conservative 5.3 64.13% LAB GAIN
Loughborough Conservative 7.1 52.21% TCTC
High Peak Conservative 9.3 39.18% CON HOLD
Leicestershire NW Conservative 14.5 24.51% CON HOLD
Boston & Skegness Conservative 28.8 25.88% CON HOLD
Ashfield Labour 0.4 24.38% LAB HOLD
Louth and Horncastle Conservative 27.5 19.83% CON HOLD

One of the most high profile casualties could be Anna Soubry in Broxtowe, with former Labour MP Nick Palmer a 2/7 shot to retake the seat. We list Corby as a Labour gain, although they currently hold it after the by-election to replace Louise Mensch. We’ve seen some informed money for the Conservatives to win this back and their odds have shortened from 4/1 to 3/1. New Education Secretary Nicky Morgan faces a tough battle to remain at Westminster, with the result in her Loughborough constituency currently too close to call; both Labour and the Tories are listed at 10/11.

We give the Liberal Democrats virtually no chance of winning a seat in the region, with the interesting exception of Ashfield. They achieved the second highest Lab-Lib swing in the country here in 2010 and came within 200 votes of winning. The early betting suggests that a Lib Dem gain is not out of the question here in 2015, at 4/1.

UKIP have two of their best chances in the whole of the UK in this region. They got over 50% of the vote in Boston & Skegness in May’s European elections and are just 7/2 to overturn a huge Tory majority. Neighbouring Louth & Horncastle is another very live possibility for them, particularly with the long-standing Peter Tapsell stepping down as MP; UKIP are 4/1 to take the seat.

So, here’s how we think the seats will break down in 2015, with changes from 2010:

  • Cons 23 (-7)
  • Lab 22 (+7)

You can find our prices for every seat in Great Britain here.

Will the Commonwealth Games boost the YES indyref vote?


The latest Independence Referendum polls have been fairly steady. In terms of the betting markets, not much has changed either, but I think we are definitely seeing an increase in money for YES. A customer in one of our shops in Edinburgh had £2,500 at 9/2 today and we’ve seen plenty of smaller bets over the weekend as well. NO backers have been harder to find recently.

Is this the Commonwealth Games effect? I think it might well be. We haven’t had any polls with fieldwork since the games started yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a modest uptick in the YES numbers in forthcoming surveys.

Normally, I don’t think you’d expect the effect of such an event to be very big, or long lived. On the other hand, if it were followed by a debate win for Salmond v Darling on August 5th, perhaps we could start to see some real movement. It would certainly be interesting if one of the pollsters produced a lead for independence – I could imagine there being a huge betting move towards YES. After all, as John Curtice reports, 56% of YES supporters already believe they are going to win, even though current polling wouldn’t give them much cause for that optimism.


Although a NO vote would be more profitable outcome for Ladbrokes at the moment, we’re hoping that the polls get a bit closer, as that is bound to stimulate turnover. This has already been a huge betting heat, and could break all sorts of records if the result is in doubt going into the final weeks. Personally, I’ve had a little bit of money on YES today, as I think there is a lot of scope for the odds to shorten in the next week or two.

The 17 seats at risk in the South East

We’ve identified 17 seats in the South East of England with a significant risk (above 25% by our definition) of switching at the 2015 general election. These estimates are based on Ladbrokes’ latest odds on every constituency which you can find here. The “lose chance” is our current estimate of the probability of the incumbent party being unseated. (TCTC = too close to call)

Seat Winner 2010 Maj% 2010 Prediction Lose chance
Hove Conservative 3.8 LAB GAIN 75.69%
Hastings & Rye Conservative 4 LAB GAIN 72.23%
Brighton Kemptown Conservative 3.1 LAB GAIN 69.92%
Thanet South Conservative 16.6 UKIP GAIN 67.15%
Brighton Pavilion Green 2.4 TCTC 52.64%
Eastbourne Lib-Dem 6.6 TCTC 52.21%
Portsmouth North Conservative 16.5 CON LOSS 50.44%
Portsmouth South Lib-Dem 12.6 LD HOLD 47.99%
Eastleigh Lib-Dem 7.2 LD HOLD 44.11%
Dover Conservative 10.5 CON HOLD 41.96%
Milton Keynes South Conservative 9.4 CON HOLD 35.50%
Southampton Itchen Labour 0.4 LAB HOLD 31.98%
Oxford West & Abingdon Conservative 0.3 CON HOLD 27.02%
Crawley Conservative 12.5 CON HOLD 26.71%
Folkestone & Hythe Conservative 19.2 CON HOLD 26.69%
Reading West Conservative 12.6 CON HOLD 26.37%
Lewes Lib-Dem 15.3 LD HOLD 24.82%

So, several very close and hard to predict seats here. Brighton and Hove will be a crucial battleground for Labour and we now forecast them to take Hove and Brighton Kemptown, with Brighton Pavilion being on a knife edge; currently we have Labour and the Greens as 10/11 joint favourites. This was the biggest betting contest of the 2010 election, and it’s sure to be near the top again in 2015.

Hastings & Rye is the only other seat we forecast as a Labour gain. They are quite close to being favourites in Portsmouth North, but although there is over a 50% chance the Tories will lose this, they are still just about the most likely winning party; UKIP could confound the situation here.

The Liberal Democrats most vulnerable seat is Eastbourne, where they are joint 10/11 favourites with the Tories. Eastleigh and Portsmouth South are still just about in their hold column. Norman Baker looks a bit more secure in Lewes. Maidstone & The Weald doesn’t quite make it on to our list, but we’ve taken quite a bit of money on the Lib Dems to gain this from the Tories. Local election results have been very good and this seat has the potential to be one of the biggest surprises in the country. Oxford West & Abingdon is another plausible Lib Dem gain.

UKIP are now favourites to win Thanet South, but this could be a very tight three way marginal. If Farage chooses to stand here, they could get shorter still. The betting also gives them a very good chance in at least five other seats in the region:

UKIP’s top targets in the South East

  • 6/4 Thanet South
  • 3/1 Folkestone
  • 4/1 Portsmouth South
  • 4/1 Thanet North
  • 5/1 Basingstoke
  • 6/1 Dover

Political Science vs Betting Markets – Who’ll win the election?

Prof Stephen Fisher has produced his latest weekly estimates of the next general election outcome.

Let’s compare those with the probabilities implied by Ladbrokes’ latest general election betting odds.

Most Seats

fishseatsilads seats

Overall Majority



Pretty close really, which I find re-assuring. When Fisher produced his initial estimates a few months back, they were a long way out from the betting markets and implied a much higher probability of a Tory seat lead and majority. I assume that the fact that the Tories have not really improved their poll standings in the intervening period has caused most of this convergence. The Fisher model assumes it is most likely that the Conservative vote share will improve as we approach an election, as do the betting markets (but not by as much).

Still, if you wanted to have a bet based on the political science, there is a little bit of value.

  • No overall majority at 11/10 with Ladbrokes; the model suggests that should be fractionally shorter.
  • 3/1 for a Tory majority would also make sense. FisherBet would have that at more like 11/4.
  • Conservative most seats is 11/10 with Ladbrokes but around 10/11 with Fisher.

The five Scottish seats set to change hands in 2015

<> on February 17, 2014 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Based on Ladbrokes’ odds in each individual constituency, we’re projecting that five seats in Scotland will change hands at the next general election. Amazingly, not a single seat switched in 2010 (ignoring a couple of seats regained after by-elections). Here are the constituencies most at risk this time. The “lose chance” is the probability, based on our odds, of the incumbent party being defeated :

Seat Winner 2010 Maj %  Prediction  Lose Chance
Argyll & Bute  LD 7.6  SNP GAIN  77.64%
Gordon  LD 13.8  SNP GAIN  64.42%
Dunbartonshire East  LD 4.5  LAB GAIN  63.18%
Edinburgh West  LD 8.2  LAB GAIN  60.58%
Inverness  LD 18.6  LD LOSS  56.85%
Aberdeenshire W & K  LD 8.2  LD HOLD  48.78%
Berwickshire, Rox & Sel  LD 11.6  LD HOLD  46.04%
Caithness, Suth & ER  LD 16.8  LD HOLD  36.62%
Ochil & Perthshire South  LAB 10.3  LAB HOLD  36.07%
Falkirk  LAB 15.4  LAB HOLD  35.51%
Dumfriesshire, C & T  CONS 9.1  CON HOLD  35.10%
Fife North East  LD 22.6  LD HOLD  33.19%
Dundee East  SNP 4.5  SNP HOLD  27.03%
Ross, Skye and Lochaber  LD 37.5  LD HOLD  12.61%
Orkney and Shetland  LD 51.3  LD HOLD  6.44%

Danny Alexander is given a 57% chance of losing his Inverness seat, but we aren’t forecasting a gain for any party, because the SNP and Labour are both in with a reasonable chance of winning it.  So, that still remains in the LD column in our overall totals below as he is still just about favourite, although odds-against.

We have the SNP as gaining two seats from the Liberal Democrats, but both are very hard to call, especially Argyll & Bute where they actually came fourth last time. This is probably the most difficult seat in Britain to forecast, with all four parties in with a shout. Their best chance of any gains from Labour come in Ochil & Perthshire South and Falkirk – you can back them at 7/4 in each of those two seats.

The Tories are forecast to remain with just one Scottish MP, although they have a couple of very plausible targets in Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk at 11/10, and Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine at 6/4.

Here are the projected new seat totals for Scotland, (with changes from 2010):

  • Lab 43 (+2)
  • SNP 8 (+2)
  • LD 7  (-4)
  • Cons 1 (nc)

Clearly, the big unknown is how the result of the Independence Referendum will affect voter behaviour. If there is a YES vote, then these MPs will presumably be out of a job within two years of the election.


Who will take over from Hague in Richmond?



William Hague’s impending departure from the Commons has opened up a vacancy in one of the Tories’ safest constituencies in the country. So, we’ve opened up a market on who will be their candidate for the next general election.


The Daily Mail have speculated that Selina Scott could be in the frame. If Boris is to return to Westminster in 2015, he won’t find a safer seat, although being an MP for the Yorkshire Dales and Mayor of London simultaneously is going to be a hard sell. Wendy Morton and Robin Scott appear to be the most plausible candidates from the local party machine. If anyone has any other suggestions for likely candidates, feel free to post them here.

Constituency profile courtesy of UK Polling Report.