It’s difficult to remember a time when political turmoil was so commonplace. Neither party is exactly blossoming in the opinion polls, but it’s Labour that will be feeling most confident heading into Thursday’s local council elections, with many analysts suggesting the Tory Party could suffer its worst ever result in London.
SBC News caught up with three political betting experts to try and gauge some key betting patterns, and to assess how the election will affect the wider political landscape.
SBC: Which party do you believe will win the most seats at the forthcoming local council elections?
Matthew Shaddick, Head of Political Betting at Ladbrokes: There’s no real doubt that Labour will win most seats – this cycle contains ways more metropolitan, Labour-friendly contests than average; the focus will be on how many gains Labour make and whether that will convert into control of many more councils.
SBC: What tips would you give to punters interested in making some quick cash from these elections?
Paul Krishnamurty, Owner of politicalgambler.com and freelance political analyst: At this stage, the betting revolves around a dozen or so competitive councils. As a general rule, I think we should oppose the Conservatives in these elections. Governments invariably get punished in mid-terms and this one is not all that popular after eight years. Council tax is rising, austerity hitting local services. I’ve heard talk of tactical anti-Tory voting over police cuts. I expect them to shed votes to both Labour and the Lib Dems and struggle to get their core vote out.
Labour are in far better shape to fight local elections in the Corbyn era. In contrast to recent decades when membership was a small fraction of today, they shouldn’t have much trouble getting boots on the ground. There may be voters who would never vote Corbyn who are prepared to back Labour locally. That is very much reflected in their odds, however, and the one-way narrative could even make them under-priced in some London contests – Barnet in particular.
Where there may still be some good value in opposing the Tories is with the Lib Dems. They are 10/11 to regain Richmond Upon Thames – a classic Con/Lib marginal – and that would be my pick of the current odds. This area voted overwhelmingly Remain and the Lib Dems pulled off a massive turnaround in a post-referendum by-election here. Whatever their national problems, they are strong in West London and will fancy reaping some dividends from their anti-Brexit stance. If you don’t mind backing odds-on, 1/3 about them winning Sutton should be a banker too.
SBC: Are there any novelty markets that punters ought to be paying attention to?
Alan Alger, Betway Head of PR: We currently have a market on the ‘Next Party Leader to Resign’ – and Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Vince Cable are almost tied in the betting. A good or bad performance in the local elections could see a clear favourite emerge in who will be struggling to see their party into the next General Election.
SBC: In what ways do you believe the local council election results will affect the wider political landscape?
AA: Incumbent governments always struggle in mid-term local elections, so unless we see earth-shattering gains from Labour the Tories will likely see losses as the price of power. A strong Labour performance in London would certainly shore up Sadiq Khan’s position as strong favourite to retain the Mayoralty in 2020.