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How punters rated Davis’s Paxman ordeal

November 11th, 2005

    The challenger stumbles a bit after being called a “shit”

Each new event in the seemingly never-ending saga that is the Tory leadership contest is having a big impact on the betting – as shown in the above chart on the implied probability of Davis winning based on best betting prices.

Last night David Davis appeared on BBC 2’s Newsnight to be interviewed by the legendary Jeremy Paxman – still seen as the most formidable inquisitor on UK television. And as the chart above shows the verdict of some punters was to sell. The Davis price eased out while the Cameron price tightened.

As the Telegraph reports “Paxman taunted Mr Davis with fellow Tory MPs’ descriptions of him as a “thug, bully, an adventurer, disloyal, congenitally treacherous and winner of the Whips’ Office shit of the year award“. Mr Davis, who laughed off his declaration that he preferred blondes to brunettes, disputed “every one” of the descriptions.”

It should be said that David Cameron will be going on the programme next week although it has taken much longer for his team to finally agree that their man should go on.

    Is their a bit of gamesmanship going on here here? When the 39 year old does face Paxman many more Tory members are likely to have returned their postal ballots and the potential negative impact will be less.

On last night’s programme Davis had to cope with fierce probing from Paxman on the effect of the £38bn on tax cuts that he has flagged up and the reaction of punters was marked. In next week’s appearance Cameron is going to get questioned very deeply on his lack of detailed policy commitments – and no doubt Paxman will really turn the screw as well.

Is the best betting strategy to sell Cameron just before next week’s programme and pick him up cheaper after it is all over?

Watch the Davis interview here.

Mike Smithson






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