Tories Lead Labour In Early UK Local Election Betting Markets

Tories Lead Labour In Early UK Local Election Betting Markets
© PA

The Conservatives are favourites to win the biggest share of local election seats when the UK goes to the polls this summer after edging ahead of Labour in the early betting markets.

Boris Johnson’s party has endured a torrid 12 months following the outbreak of coronavirus that has severely disrupted daily life for people across the country.

A number of public relations disasters – including Johnson’s chief strategist Dominic Cummings breaking Covid restrictions, a summer school exams fiasco and various U-turns over free meals to underprivileged children – at one point appeared to indicate that Labour had the upper hand over the government in terms of polling.

But since the New Year the Tories have rallied and they are now favourites to claim what would be a huge victory in the local elections this May.

That is according to UK bookmakers who have shifted the Conservatives into a price of 4/6 to claim more seats than Labour (Evens).

Tories Lead Local Elections Betting

The reason for this appears to be down to two key contributors in the government’s favour: Brexit and the coronavirus vaccine.

The UK secured a last-minute trade deal with the UK before the New Year to settle Johnson’s 2019 election promise to ‘Get Brexit Done’.

And the vaccine roll-out, which has now covered over 10 million people across the UK, has been a positive shot in the arm for the government’s public image.

Indeed, the Conservatives recently enjoyed a +4% poll boost, while Labour dropped 4%.

Previous Elections Suggest Close Contest

Local elections are often seen as a gauge of the public’s confidence in the current government.

A shift towards the opposition can often be expected, although strong support for the leading party is an indication that the country is in line with Westminster policies.

Labour will head into the local elections hoping to better their previous two outings in 2017 and 2019 under leader Jeremy Corbyn, where they finished level with the Tories in the popular vote.

Sir Keir Starmer is, however, struggling with public confidence. Since the turn of the year Starmer has seen his position as the preferred choice to be prime minister drop, while Johnson’s approval ratings have spiked.

Whether the Tories can keep this up between now and May remains to be seen. Lasting issues over Brexit, trade with Europe and the Northern Ireland border could cause problems further down the line.

What’s more, new variants of the Covid-19 virus might pose a real challenge for the government as they look to open up the country from its current lockdown, while the furlough scheme is due to end in April.

An economic downturn – including a spike in unemployment – is expected once furlough ends. And pressure may be on Johnson and his cabinet to persist with the scheme as the May 8 elections loom.e market to change.

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