By-Election Odds: Conservative Losses Predicted In Tiverton And Wakefield
The Conservative party is on course to lose two UK by-elections this Thursday as pressure ramps up on prime minister Boris Johnson – but betting sites have given the Tories some hope of defending at least one of their seats.
Voters will head to the polls in both Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton constituencies on Thursday, in what is being billed as an acid test to the public’s view of the government.
An emerging economic crisis, spiralling inflation, rises in food costs and energy bills, numerous sleaze scandals and issues over the UK’s Brexit deal with the EU has cast the spotlight firmly on Johnson’s government in recent months.
In May the Tories were routed at local elections across the country, and UK bookmakers are fairly confident Johnson’s party will lose two members of parliament in these upcoming by-elections too.
Here, we look at the latest politics odds and likely victors of the two 23 June by-elections.
Labour Lead Wakefield By-Election Odds
Labour has increased its stranglehold on the Wakefield by-election betting odds, with political betting sites now offering a price of 1/500 on Simon Lightwood winning this seat. Those odds have crushed in recent days after a poll revealed Labour has a 20-point lead heading into the vote.
Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed has rubbished the poll but is facing an uphill battle to convince voters to stay loyal to the party they voted for in 2019.
This seat is up for grabs after Imran Ahmad Khan was jailed after being convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. It is just the latest of a number of scandals to have befallen the Tory party over the past 12 months.
When campaigning began the bookies gave Ahmed a 9/1 shot (10% likelihood) of keeping this Red Wall seat blue. But now his odds have spiralled to 33/1 (2.9%).
The cost of living, growing dissatisfaction with Brexit and unhappiness over Johnson’s government are all considered factors in voters shifting back to Labour.
Perhaps optimistically, Lightwood has claimed a vote for Labour here could lead to Johnson’s exit as prime minister. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime vote for Wakefield,” he said. “A big Labour win here could remove Boris Johnson from Number 10. But I need your help to do it.”
That seems unlikely, with the latest Boris Johnson odds suggesting he isn’t for the chop in 2022. But it will certainly drag the PM’s feet closer to the fire.
Lib Dems vs Conservatives in Tiverton and Honiton
There is a slightly rosier picture for the Tories in the Tiverton and Honiton by-election – although it’s still not great news for the government. This is a true blue Conservative seat but anger over partygate and the economy has triggered a big swing towards the Lib Dems.
The fact its MP Neil Parish quit in disgrace after being found to have watched pornography in parliament has not aided the Tory cause either. In a constituency that has never voted anything but Conservative, a few weeks ago UK bookmakers give the liberal Democrats an 81.8% chance of winning this election. However, those odds have since fallen to 4/11 (73.3%) as voters edge back towards Johnson’s party.
Still, it’s unlikely to be enough to prevent Richard Foord of the Lib Dems from taking the seat. Lib Dem polling data of 6,000 residents in the constituency has found the two parties are neck-and-neck of 45% each. That’s a 30-point boost for the Libs, and a 15-point fall for the Tories.
Labour are effectively nowhere to be seen and Betfair have priced them at 250/1 to win this by-election.
Tiverton and Honiton is a shootout between loyal Conservative voters and disenfranchised Tories who have shifted to the Liberal Democrats. One issue for Tory candidate Helen Hurford is many of the party’s supporters are considering not voting at all, as a protest against Johnson.
The Tories are losing support in rural areas over concerns about farming and post-Brexit trade deals with Australia and New Zealand. Sleaze and the economy are two other factors that have disenfranchised loyalists. Johnson has steered clear of the campaign in Tiverton – but erasing his presence in this by-election won’t be enough to prevent the seat flipping yellow.
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