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Markets move to June 2007 departure

September 27th, 2006

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    Will Gordon have to wait longer before he can go at Cameron?

Comments in a Radio 4 interview by the Education Secretary and possible leadership challenger, Alan Johnson, that Tony Blair would stay longer than most people were expecting has led to active trading on the departure date and the “length of third term” spread betting markets.

Johnson’s comments indicated a late summer departure which could deprive the new leader of taking over while the Commons is still sitting. It’s known that Gordon Brown has been pressing for the actual transfer date to be during the parliamentary session so that, if elected, he could have five or six weeks to “go at Cameron” before the recess.

    If Johnson is calling this right then the new leader would probably have to wait until October 2007 before facing the Tory leader across the chamber at Prime Minister’s Questions.

The market from Cantor Spreadfair on how many weeks Blair’s third term will continue for is now showing a spread of 101-106 weeks which is six weeks longer than yesterday and would take the change-over into June.

Week one began on May 9th 2005 so the buy price starts in June 2007. The bookmaker makes clear that “…if Tony Blair announces his resignation for a date in the future, but carries on as Prime Minister in the interim, then the market will be settled on his actual final day as Prime Minister, not the time of the announcement”.

This is very different from the Betfair betting exchange definition of the market which is “When will Tony Blair officially cease to be leader of the Labour Party?”
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I can see problems of interpretation ahead on this if Blair were to announce, say, in April that he was planning to go at the start of July when a new leader was in place. The party rules seem to indicate that no election is possible until Blair has stepped aside so the operative date would be when that is submitted.

This is one of the reasons why you can still get 5.6/1 on the July-September option.

When Iain Duncan Smith, who incidentally I met today, had to step down in the autumn of 2003 Betfair settled on the basis of his leaving date – not when the vote of no confidence went through.

Mike Smithson






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