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Looking at the UKIP leadership race

September 12th, 2017

Matthew Shaddick (Shadsy) of Ladbrokes on the UKIP leadership race.

This year’s running of the UKIP leadership race might not have attracted all that much attention, but it’s probably one of the most open and unpredictable party leader elections I can remember. Of the seven candidates left, six have a plausible shot at winning and there could be plenty of betting value around.

Long time favourite Peter Whittle looks a very shaky front-runner. Once as short as 2/5, he’s now 6/4 and not that many people seem interested in risking any cash on him at the moment.. Probably the best known in party circles coming into this election, he hasn’t been overly impressive in the media appearances that I have seen. Maybe his greater name recognition will get him home, but I’d want a bigger price.

Jane Collins was a 100/1 shot before a few other potential candidates dropped out and agreed to support her and she’s now 8/1. Unfortunately for her, those drop-outs came to late to be removed from the ballot paper so the likes of David Coburn will probably still nick a few votes away from her.

David Kurten got a boost when Raheem Kassam endorsed him last week, which might be a hint that he’d be acceptable to Nigel Farage. Nige has kept away from promoting anyone openly, although he’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want Anne Marrie Waters. 10/1.

John Rees-Evans, although miles behind Paul Nuttall, got a very creditable 18% in the last leadership race. He seems to have the best social media minions working for him, but maybe his past indiscretions will prove too much. Not totally impossible at 12/1

Henry Bolton has been, by some accounts, the best performer at the various hustings around the country. A former Army officer, he seems a relatively credible option despite being pretty unknown coming into this. I’ve had a few quid on him; currently 7/1 with Ladbrokes

Someone called Aidan Powlesland is still in the betting at 100/1 but Ladbrokes have yet to take a single bet on this person.

Which leaves us with the big unknown of how anti-Islam campaigner Anne Marie Waters will perform. We really have very little information about how well her message will go down with UKIP members. She’s certainly getting a lot of support on twitter, although how much difference that will make is hard to say. Still, I can see why people might still want to back her at 7/4. With the other five realistic runners all attracting some sort of following, it’s extremely likely that anyone getting 30% of the vote will win this, which seems more than achievable for her. Don’t be surprised if she’s favourite before long.

Matthew Shaddick (Shadsy) is Head of Political Odds at Ladbrokes