Is this more about the general election than June 23rd?
The LDs have chosen retired Army Major, Richard Foord to be their candidate in the June 23rd Tiverton & Honiton by-election where the Tories are defending a 24k majority that was achieved at GE2019. The party wasn’t even in second place then yet the money has been piling on the party following the announcement of their selection.
Since the announcement, the LDs have moved up in the betting to a 71% chance.
Foord is nothing like other selections that we have seen by the party in recent years. For a start he is a man and secondly, he is a former soldier who has served in both Iraq and the Balkans. He has almost the classic profile of a Tory by-election candidate.
Ever since the porn viewing former Tory MP quit creating the vacancy the assumption was that the party would choose a woman.
My reading is that part of the reason this choice is about having someone in place who is seen as better able to defend the seat at the general election. There is a long history of LD by-election victors going on to lose their seat when the country as a whole goes to the polls.