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Time to make a call. The value bet in Newark is 3-1 that it will be Labour

May 2nd, 2014

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We now have a by-election date, June 5th, the declaration by Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, that he won’t be his party’s candidate and the launching of Newark markets by the main political bookmakers.

My money at this early stage has gone on Labour simply because it is the value bet. There must be a good chance that a large part of the 2010 LD voters will switch to Miliband’s party while the Tories will see a fair amount of their general election support seep to Ukip.

The period when the postal votes are likely to arrive will be just after the locals and the Euro results when Ukip is expected to do well.

This has all the makings of a tight competitive race between the blues, purples and the reds and it is hard making a call. The current best CON price is a totally unappealing 4/7, LAB is at 3/1 with Ukip now having drifted to 9/2.

    Given that Labour will probably mount the best ground campaign and the dismal record that the Tories have defending by-elections while in government then the stand out value must be LAB.

Remember that the Tories have not had successful defence of a seat while in government since February 1989. Ukip has never won Westminster seat and the biggest vote share in one that it has ever achieved has been 27.8%

We can expect a fair bit of polling in the coming weeks and that, when published, will impact on the betting odds.

For the moment I’ve got LAB bets at 4/1, 7/2 and 3/1.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble