ONE of the posts I’ve had lots of people asking me about in recent days is how bookmakers have reached the conclusion that it is likely Labour’s Tulip Siddiq will be unseated by the Tories next month. Paddy Power on Monday had Conservative candidate Claire-Louise Leyland as the 1/8F hot favourite and Labour at 7/2, odds which caused a ripple of surprise among people who feel they did not reflect how close the contest will be.
I did try to explain in that post how bookies often saw political betting as a novelty and therefore often struggle to run the same tight markets they do on horse racing or football. Often they cap the maximum wager on political betting in case somebody with a greater sense of what is likely to happen in individual constituencies tries to load up on an overly-generous price. But I think people just looked at the headline figures.
The chance to bet on Tulip at a high price – and I write this feeling that there is a decent debate to be had on whether betting on politics should really be allowed – may now have gone, however. In less than week, Paddy Power has cut her odds down to 9/4, while the Conservatives drift a bit to 3/10. Other bookmakers are weighing in to the general election markets, and if you scout around you can find Tulip at a higher price but it’s interesting to see this market move in Labour’s favour in a week when the party has done so badly in the local elections across the country.