— Mark Denten (@BBCMarkDenten) March 1, 2015
Up to a point, Lord Copper.
Yes, UKIP are second favourites in a whole host of seats in the North of England. However, as far as Cumbria and the North East are concerned, it doesn’t look very likely that they will actually win any of them. In many of these seats, we can more or less completely rule out the Tories or the Liberal Democrats. There’s a little more uncertainty with UKIP, which means they are quite often the “main challengers” in the sense that it’s a little less unlikely that they could win. Labour are still huge odds-on favourites in most of these places.
It’s also a question of market forces – there do seem to be a lot of optimistic kippers out there willing to risk a few quid at big odds in some of these constituencies. Nobody is going to waste any money backing the Liberal Democrats in, say, Hartlepool.
Here are their top ten prospects in the region, according to the latest odds. The UKIP win %, is their chances of winning the seat as implied by Ladbrokes’ latest prices.
|Seat||Region||2010 Winner||UKIP Win %|
|Blyth Valley||North East||Labour||5.50%|
|South Shields||North East||Labour||5.50%|
|Washington & Sunderland West||North East||Labour||5.48%|
|Bishop Auckland||North East||Labour||5.45%|
|Middlesbrough South & Cleveland||North East||Labour||5.34%|
There seem to be some problems in the local Labour party in Redcar, and the Lib Dem vote is expected to fall quite dramatically, which opens a small window for UKIP. Hartlepool’s demographics look quite promising for UKIP, a point which can be made about a lot of Labour held seats in the North East.