Odds Of A Tory Majority Shorten After Farage U-Turn
November 13, 2019
Campaigning by political parties is intense as the General Election on 12 December approaches. The Conservative Government, led by Boris Johnson, is committed to delivering Brexit and, although many other issues – health, education, social justice and so on – are also on the table, Brexit continues to be the dominant theme of this General Election.
Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, announced earlier this week that the party will no longer stand in any of the 317 parliamentary seats won by the Conservatives in the 2017 election. This decision has had a dramatic effect on the General Election betting market, with odds on a Tory majority outcome moving from Evens to 4/7 with bookmaker Ladbrokes. Why? Because the Tories will now be in a position to hold onto more of their marginal seats, without the risk of Brexit-supporting Tory voters being diverted to the Brexit Party.
The prospect of a hung parliament, with no party holding an overall majority of seats, remains however, with approx odds of 13/8 available via the Betfair Exchange. However, the odds are drifting now. As a consequence of Farage’s announcement, the chances of an overall Labour majority are also diminishing with best odds of 28/1 from Ladbrokes.
That said, victory for the Tories is definitely not in the bag yet. The Brexit Party still intends to contest about 300 seats, including Labour marginals in the Midlands and North England that Boris Johnson really needs to win an overall majority. Even Farage’s close supporters are questioning this policy. One of the self-styled “bad boys of Brexit”, Andy Wigmore, says “Boris has to win or Brexit is dead. He (Nigel Farage) should do the right thing”.
And the Tories themselves remain worried that Brexit candidates will divert valuable votes away from their own candidates. One Cabinet Minister has said of Farage“If we end up with a hung parliament because of the Brexit Party, all eyes will be on him. People will say ‘You did this’”.
It represents a dilemma now for the charismatic Brexit party leader. His stated aim is “to get a decent voice in Parliament” but, in contesting so many seats, he is placing in jeopardy the core objective of the Brexit Party – to secure the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. There is no formal election pact between the Tories and the Brexit Party so Prime Minister Johnson and his election strategists can only hope that Mr Farage may further restrict his party’s efforts to those 40 or so seats where his candidates have a real chance of winning their seats.