But will they lose Leicester South and if so – who to?
After a few uncomfortable weeks when the spread betting gamblers on the Commons seat market had put Labour at below the level where they would have a Commons majority the latest spreads have the party comfortably above the 324 seat target – which gives them an absolute majority.
This is in response to the pre-Euro Election opinion polls showing increased support for UK Independence Party almost solely at the expense of the Conservatives. Whether UKIP successes on June 10 will have a lasting effect we do not know – but the party’s rationale is only in the context of Europe which is not likely to be the big issue at the next General Election. The main General Election markets has also moved even more to Labour.
The spread, that is based on gamblers placing bets, does give some comfort for Michael Howard. For the party to have most seats in England he needs about 244 seats. This target could increase if Labour win back Lib Dem seats like Brent East or move the other way if the party picks up Labour seats.
The big test for Labour,the Tories and the Lib Dems in the coming months will be the Leicester South by-election which in the Thatcher landslide of 1983 was won by the Conservatives by just seven votes. Since then it has become a Labour stronghold which the party could possibly lose.
This was the voting at the last General Election:-
LAB 22,958 -54.5%
CON 9,715 – 23%
LIB 7,243 – 17.2%
The seat’s large Muslim community has traditionally supported Labour but this has come into question because of the war. For the Conservatives this is a seat, surely, that they should be capable of winning if they are to pose any threat whatsoever at the General Election? But there’s a problem – the local Lib Dems are very well organised and this is how last year’s council elections worked out:-
LIB 11,294 – 46.9%
LAB 7,157 -29.7%
CON 5,580 – 23.2%
This could be a great three-way fight between all the main parties. At this stage we would back the Lib Dems to pull off another spectacular by-election success on the back back of their strong local government base and their amazing by-election expertise.
MARKET UPDATE – LONDON MAYOR. Prices on Ken’s opponents continue to rise – Betfair are currently showing 26 on Hughes and 11 on Norris. We stick with our analysis – this is going to be much tighter than the polls suggest. This is driven by turnout and the lower that gets the less Ken’s chances are.
MARKET UPDATE – US ELECTION. At last a market on who will be Kerry’s Vice-Presidential choice. The 15 on John McCain looks good value as does the 3.25 on John Edwards.