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Tiverton & Honiton By-Election Odds: The Betting Markets indicate the Tories are closing the gap

Defeat in Tiverton could lead to the party being over for the Prime Minister
Defeat in Tiverton could lead to the party being over for the Prime Minister

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When the market opened for the Tiverton & Honiton by-election, the Lib Dems were immediately installed as odds-on favourites to overturn a huge majority and deliver yet another blow to the embattled leadership of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

As we enter the final 24 hours of the campaign, have the bookies got it right? Neil Monnery takes a look at the latest market moves ahead of what could be a decisive day for the future of the country…

Tiverton & Honiton By-Election Odds

Liberal Democrats
WIN PROB: 69%
1
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
Conservatives
WIN PROB: 33%
1
£20 FREE BET
2/1
£30 FREE BET
Neil Parish (Ind)
WIN PROB: 2%
Labour
WIN PROB: 1%
1
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
Odds correct as of 2022-06-21 16:44 Odds subject to change.

It is fair to say that by-elections are often just a small blip or boost for a political party. Very few times in history has a constituency vote outside of a General Election had any real tangible effect on a government. This time though, that could be very different as the Prime Minister is teetering on the edge and a rejection of his candidate in the south (to the Lib Dems) and in the north (to Labour) would ensure another round of internal Conservative navel-gazing.

Victory however - even if they just scrape over the line - would be a huge sigh of relief and would all but certainly keep the wolves at bay for a little bit longer.

Wakefield seems all but gone for the Tories. They seem very much braced for defeat to Labour in the West Yorkshire seat so all their eggs are now in the blue wall as they look to fend off a strong challenge from Sir Ed Davey's party.

In recent days the markets have moved towards a Conservative hold as money has been trickling in on them to retain the seat. The biggest price I saw a week ago was 9/2 but now they are 2/1 or 9/4 in most places. At the time of writing the 28/11 with SBK is the best price on offer. This shouldn’t be surprising as the odds were always out and this is just a market correction. The value was always there for the party of government to hold and the current prices seem about right to me.

Overturning any five-figure majority is a mountain to climb but anyone who keeps an eye on these things will know all about the well-oiled Lib Dem by-election machine. Back in the 1990s any Tory seat was a potential gain for Paddy Ashdown’s party and once more they have become the party of protest for disaffected Conservatives.

The win in Chesham & Amersham could be relatively easily explained but the victory in North Shropshire was on a different level. Taking this seat however would be even more gargantuan considering they didn’t even get 15% of the vote last time and the Tories had a 60% vote share. What they’ve successfully done is clearly put themselves in pole position to take any votes from the electorate who want to show their anger towards the current Prime Minister.

This is to use Lib Dem parlance - the definition of a two-horse race. When people go to the polling booths on Thursday they will essentially be giving a vote of confidence in the government by casting their ballot for Helen Hurford or saying they are unhappy with the leadership of the country and putting an x in the box for Richard Foord. Labour came second at the 2019 General Election in this seat but it is widely expected that plenty of votes will be lent to Sir Ed Davey’s party from both them and the Green’s.

Lib Dem internal polling released to the media shows the race as a dead heat with both main protagonists at 45%. The anger over Partygate may have cooled a bit but the cost of living crisis is escalating and that isn’t good news for the Tories. The news this week however has been dominated by the train strikes and despite being the party of government for 12 years, the Conservatives have attempted to place the blame on the Labour Party, which is an interesting tactic but clearly one they believe will hit home. That shouldn’t affect this vote and I think the indicated odds probability of LDs at 75% and Tories at 25% is about right. A Lib Dem gain by around 5-7% would be my guess at this juncture but a Tory hold is still possible.

Whatever happens, expect movement on plenty in political markets come Friday morning as the Prime Minister is either safer or in significantly more peril than he would’ve been 24 hours earlier.

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