Archive for the 'Betting' Category


A sign of LAB confidence in Lewisham East: Local party chief gets sacked days before the postals go out

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Given that the outgoing MP, Heidi Alexander, secured 69% of the vote at GE2017 it has been very hard to predict anything other than a Labour hold. That was why, in the eyes of many, the party’s selection battle was the real fight.

That was completed on Saturday when the local party chose Lewisham’s, deputy mayor ahead of the Momentum backed candidate as well as the one supported by Unite – an outcome that’s been seen as a bit of a slap in the face for the Labour leader.

A key part in that outcome was played by Ian McKenzie, chairman of the Lewisham East constituency party, who, it turned out, had made a couple of sexist Tweets about Emily Thornberry two years ago.

McKenzie’s supporters say the Tweets had been dug out in a move to discredit him. He’s now been suspended.

Whatever the truth this is not the sort of publicity a party wants to attract at a crucial stage in a by-election. The LDs are throwing everything at getting a good result here and anything they can use to discredit Labour will be seen as helpful.

Ladbrokes make LAB a 1/50 favourite with the LDs t 20/1 and 100/1 on the Tories – betting odds, know doubt, that will be used by the yellows to make the case that only they can best Labour in he seat.

The Lib Dem effort has been focused on the LAB stance on Brexit suggesting that Team Corbyn is ignoring Remainers.

Mike Smithson


On the betting markets punters don’t buy the speculation that there’ll be a 2018 election

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

A vote this year is rated as just an 11% chance

At the weekend we saw reports in the media about the possibility of the huge divide in the Conservative over Brexit being of such a magnitude that an early, 2018, general election was the only way of ending it.

I thought the Sunday Times report was over-egged simply because Mrs. May was so scarred by her failure to retain the Tory majority last year that there were no circumstances in which she would take such a gamble again. The idea of her going into another campaign for which, as we saw, she was so psychologically unsuited to handle is hard to comprehend.

It is also hard to see another party leader being put in place this year for it is convenient for both sides within the party to leave her in the role until Brexit at the earliest. In any case the party’s processes make it difficult to oust her.

    Sure it only takes 48 CON MPs to write letters demanding a confidence vote of he parliamentary party for one to be triggered. But the other key number is that for her to lose that ballot requires 150+ CON MPs to vote against her and there isn’t that level of support.

On top of that there appears even within the parliamentary party to be a lack of appreciation of the Fixed Term Parliament Act and what is required to trigger an election.

The other factor that helps Mrs. May is that the Tories have established what is looking like a solid lead in the polls which diminishes the threat of Prime Minister Corbyn.

The Betfair exchange did see the odds on a 2018 election move to 15% but there was little to support it staying at the level and the price has slipped back.

Mike Smithson


Not another one. Oh for God’s sake, honestly I can’t stand this. There’s too much politics going on at the moment.

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

Today’s Sunday Times report

Conservative MPs are preparing for another snap general election as they fear the Brexit deadlock will become insurmountable for the prime minister.

Some have spoken to their local party associations asking to be readopted as prospective parliamentary candidates in readiness for an autumn election.

The back-bench MPs acted after meeting Theresa May last week for a private Brexit briefing as she tried to stop a row over Britain’s future customs relationship with the European Union tearing the party apart.

But far from being reassured by meeting the prime minister, they left Downing Street convinced that another election could be around the corner.

One Tory Brexiteer said he could not see how the government could “square the circle” and come up with a solution on Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU that would appease both sides of the warring party.

“It’s becoming clear there’s no compromise that will keep remainers such as Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve happy as well as the likes of myself and Jacob Rees-Mogg,” the MP said.

“The numbers are against us and if we face repeated defeats when the withdrawal bill returns to the Commons, the only alternative will be to kick over the table and trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, which will likely lead to another general election.

“After speaking with like-minded colleagues, I have raised this with my association chairman and asked them to get on with readopting me as the candidate in my seat in anticipation that we could go to the polls as early as the autumn. I am even preparing my first leaflet drop for the summer.”

Labour MPs are also discussing the prospect of an October poll. A Labour Party insider said: “I heard two separate reports from MPs who said they had heard Conservative MPs planning for an early election.”

This chimes in with my own long standing views that a 2018 election wouldn’t surprise me as Mrs May would struggle to reconcile her party as she and the party discover that Brexit isn’t as easy as some Brexiteers promised.

As a Tory and a patriot sadly I think far too many Tories are playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun, even if they don’t know it. The Sunday Times report ‘At least a dozen hardline Brexiteers think leaving the EU with no deal would be better, according to reports. They are expected to renew calls for the appointment of a “no deal” cabinet minister to show that Britain is prepared to walk away from the negotiations.’

Although I was struck by John Rentoul’s observation this morning that as Mrs May moves us to the softest of soft Brexits ‘The prime minister is boiling the Brexiteer frogs: the water is getting hotter and none of them has jumped out of the pan.’ Perhaps some of the Leavers have decided pragmatism is the only way when it comes to Brexit rather than risking Corbyn as Prime Minister.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice that the polling of the Tories and Mrs May has improved since Mrs May has started talking about delivering a softer Brexit.

Several bookies are offering 6/1 on a 2018 election and Betfair’s latest price is a 7.6, this is a market I’m not going play any further at these prices.

As the headline of this piece is channelling Brenda from Bristol, I suspect the Tories will take a hit if they force another election on the country, so that’s why it probably won’t happen.



A 100/1 tip to be Theresa May’s successor

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

My twin strategies when it comes to betting on Theresa May’s successor is to lay the favourite(s) and back long odds (cabinet) ministers who appear to have potential. The latter has proven a very successful approach with the likes of Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid who were tipped and backed at odds of 100/1 and 60/1.

So the latest addition to the latter list is Matt Hancock, who is currently 100/1 with Ladbrokes to succeed Mrs May. He’s proving to be a very competent minister, as exemplified by the decision this week to limit the stakes of FOBTs to £2.

He’s also certain to receive a good press because of his opposition to Leveson 2 which could have bankrupted newspapers with numerous vexatious complaints from people with politically driven agendas.

The other advantage that Hancock has is he is close to the Cameroon wing of the party who still have a substantial number in Parliament. Before becoming an MP Hancock served as George Osborne’s Chief of Staff so he knows how to work the party and its MPs.

The Cameroon wing of the party are also looking for a standard bearer since David Cameron stood down and Hancock’s views are very much in line with the only man to have won the Tories a majority in the last 26 years and counting.

Like Hunt and Javid, Hancock has all the potential to be a great trading bet, if the Tories are looking to jump a generation Hancock also fits that bill as he is yet to turn 40. A half competent cabinet minister with youth on their side really shouldn’t be a 100/1 chance to succeed Mrs May.


PS – Another Matt Hancock tip is the 20/1 Ladbrokes are offering on him to be the next Chancellor of the Exchequer.


Punters now make it a 32% chance that TMay will be out this year

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

With all the machinations that are going on within the cabinet over the divisions on Brexit it is perhaps no wonder that here has been renewed interest on betting that she’ll be out this year.

The chart above shows the movement over the past month with next year, presumably post-Brexit, continuing to be the favourite.

Certainly Mrs. May has a huge challenge dealing with the increasing number of Brexit issues and this hasn’t been helped by Corbyn’s new approach to PMQs, coming with a tight script that he keeps to, which have exposed some of her weaknesses.

    But I remain to be convinced. She’ll stay simply because there isn’t an obvious successor who has broad support and that situation doesn’t exist at the moment.

She’s also helped by the Tories doing better than expected in this month’s local elections and the slight decline in the Labour polling position.

Her problem is the memory within the party of how she performed last June when her gamble failed and her lack campaigning skills were very much exposed.

Mike Smithson


On the third Thursday of May exactly a year ago Mrs May launched the Conservative manifesto

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

The anniversary of the #DementiaTax

On the third Thursday of May exactly a year ago Mrs. May was enjoying huge leads in the polls as she travelled to key Tory target of Halifax (LAB GE2015 majority 428) to launch the Conservative manifesto.

The polling in that week was pointing to a landslide. GfK and ICM had her party 20% ahead with leads of 18% by Kantar and 15% by Ipsos-MORI. The spread betting markets had a CON “buy” level of in excess of 400 seats and virtually no one had any doubts about the outcome. Mrs. May’s gamble of going to the country three years early was going to pay off big time.

The election itself was just four weeks off and postal voting packs were due to go out in the following few days.

    A key proposal that got picked up on social media while she was still speaking was to make people pay for their care if they had assets £100,000+. Suddenly the term “#DemntiaTax” starting flooding Twitter and it became apparent that this was not going well at all.

This became the peg for the media to get public reaction to the whole manifesto and that evening we had vox pop after vox pop of older voters not being happy with the idea.

I must admit that at the time I thought the move was laudable – the Tories being ready to use their apparent strong position to take on one of the toughest issues of the day, funding elderly care, with a very clear proposal that wasn’t going to be popular.

The first round of voting intention polls carried out after the launch suddenly showed a very different picture. YouGov and Survation both had the Tory lead down to single figures.

It was that weekend that I placed what would turn out to be my most profitable political bet ever – I ‘sold’ Tory seats at 393 on the spread betting markets. They ended up with 318 MP a gap of 75 which was then multiplied by my stake level.

Halifax rather than being a CON gain saw LAB increase its majority from 468 to 5,376.

Mike Smithson


Why I think it will be Gove & Sajid in a CON members’ ballot not Moggsy or BoJo

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Being seen to be successful ministers will be crucial

Ever since last June when Theresa May lost the Conservative Party its majority there has always been a chance of a leadership contest. We have had repeated stories about MPs being ready to send letters to the chairman of the 1922 committee seeking a confidence vote. The fact that this has not materialised so far doesn’t mean it is not going to happen.

In view of the febrile state of the party caused by the splits on Brexit we have to recognise that a contest could happen at any time so we need to keep an eye on the betting markets on who will replace her.

The critical thing to remember about the Conservative leadership is that the election process is of two stages. The first is a series of ballots of the parliamentary party to decide which two should go to the membership. The second and final round is the mass mailing to members which makes the final decision.

The top of the betting for nine months have been Jacob Rees-Mogg and the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Currently the former is rated as a 18% chance with the latter a 9% one on Betfair.

My view is that neither will make it to the final round. Rees-mogg is certainly popular amongst a part of the party but it is hard to see him securing the votes of more than 100 MPs in the leadership contest secret ballot of MPs. He’ll need more than that to get to the members ballot. He also suffers from not being a minister which could be key given that that the election could be about choosing a prime minister.

Boris’s big negative is being Boris. He’s never really looked like a serious Foreign Secretary and there is plenty to use against him in the dirt that’s likely to be flung about in a leadership contest. Just remember what happened to Andrea leadsom last time.

My current view is that the final two to go to the Ballot will be the current Environment secretary, Michael Gove, abd Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary who replaced Amber Rudd a month or so ago.

Both look as though they are on top of their ministerial briefs and appear confident in themselves.

Mike Smithson


The Buckingham constituency where there must be a high chance of a by-election within 18 months

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

There’s not been a “normal” election here since GE2005

One of the intriguing facets of the current speculation over the Speaker, John Bercow, is that there could be a by-election within the next year and a half in the Buckingham parliamentary constituency.

There were reports at the weekend that Mr Bercow has indicated to friends that he plans to stand down in 2019 though there could be something earlier if the pressure on him continues. If he does step aside he’ll almost certainly quit as an MP and would probably be elevated to the Lords.

The normal convention which is honoured by the main parties is that Speakers are not challenged when they stand for re-election in their own constituencies. So at GE2010, Bercow’s first general election as Speaker, Labour and the Lib Dems did not put up candidates although Nigel Farage challenged him as did a prominent pro-EU former Conservative MEP, John Stevens. Bercow won easily but Stevens beat Farage for second place and the former leader of UKIP only picked up 17% of the vote.

That election will be remembered for the plane crash that Nigel Farage was in while flying in a light plane over the constituency on election day itself. My understanding is that quite a few Tory activists were helping on the Farage campaign while some Lib Dems were supporting Stevens.

The fact that it has been held by the Speaker for so long is that there are no previous elections for us to make comparisons with. At GE2005, with different boundaries, Bercow stood as a Tory and got 57% of the vote.

At GE1966 the seat was won for Labour by the controversial former media magnate Robert Maxwell. He lost it to the Tories at GE1970.

A 2018/2019 by-election would likely be a battle between the Tories and the Lib Dems who would fancy their chances of putting up a challenge in a seat that went Remain at the referendum. No doubt both parties have already got contingency plans for fighting such an election.

Mike Smithson