Could Brown have to wait until 2008?
Supporters of Gordon Brown and those Labour Party members strongly opposed to Tony Blair will be disappointed this morning by comments by the PM’s close political ally and EU Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, in a TV interview recorded for the Jonathan Dimbleby programme.
In the immediate aftermath of May 5th there was strong speculation that Mr. Blair would be going soon and indeed the odds on a 2005 departure got as low as 2/1. Now Mandelson is hinting strongly that the Prime Minster is planning to stay for another three years.
In the Dimbleby programme discussion on the impact of EU Constitution referendums in France and the Netherlands quoted by the Independent today, Mandelson says “I hope that â€¦ when eventually he does step down as Prime Minister towards the end of this parliament, he will be able to look back on the next two to three years and say ‘I helped Europe change and mend it’s direction, re-build public confidence and trust in the European project in a way that seems relevant to us and our daily lives’.”
The forecast of how long Tony Blair will go on runs in the face of the current betting opinion reflected in the Spreadfair market on the length of Tony Blairâ€™s third terms where the current spread is 96-102 weeks starting a month ago. This takes us until spring 2007.
On Betfair you can currently get 5.2/1 against Blair still being there after January 1 2008. This looks a good value bet.
Mandy has played such a part in the evolution of New Labour that his statement on Tony Blairâ€™s intentions has to be taken seriously.
If the Prime minister does stay for that long then it must have an impact on Gordon Brownâ€™s position in the Next Labour leader where, as we discussed yesterday, the betting has him as the 1/5 favourite. Such a price is only worthwhile if thereâ€™s a real prospect of change happening fairly quickly. The problem for the Chancellor of a delay is that anything can happen. He might look strong at the moment but other contenders could emerge.
If you don’t mind waiting for two and a half years take the 5.2/1 on Betfair.