Does this man really want to win Leicester South?

Does this man really want to win Leicester South?

Chris Heaton Harris

    What would a by-election victory do for his career?

Last month Chris Heaton-Harris (above) – Conservative candidate in Leicester South – was re-elected as an MEP for a further five years. What we find odd is that he’s said he will give up being an MEP if he wins.

For if victory does come next Thursday then the chances of the Tories retaining the seat in the General Election are very slim. It would take a gigantic swing on the scale of the post-Falkands Tory landslide of 1983, when the Tory won there by just 7 votes, for him to do it again and that seems almost impossible. In which case Mr. Heaton-Harris would have given up almost a full five-year term as a Euro MP for perhaps ten months at Westminster. He must realise this.

    Has he gone into battle with the intention of putting up a good fight but in the realisation that he cannot win because victory would be catastrophic for his political career?

Meanwhile the Tory betting price has gone out while the money has continued to go on the Lib Dems in Leicester although the Birmingham market has stayed static. Our guess is that there is very little betting on Birmingham but if prices do move there over the weekend it will be a strong indication that the activists of one of the parties sense victory. Bet on the party that sees its price hardening.

For gamblers it is money that is at risk but for all the parties next Thursday the political stakes are very high:-

  • Conservatives. Bottom of the betting in both Leicester and Birmingham at 4/1 and 10/1 respectively Michael Howard desparately needs to show something for his takeover of the leadership after the intevention of UKIP spoilt the planned celebrations in the Euro Elections on June 10. Would coming a good second in both places suffice?
  • Labour. Favourite at 8/13 in Birmingham but trailing at 7/4 in Leicester Tony Blair needs to show that Labour is still a fighting force after coming third in the June local elections and recording just over 22% of the vote in the Euro Elections. If both seats were lost where would Blair stand?
  • Lib Dems. The 4/5 favourite in Leicester and 11/8 in Birmingham big things are expected from the Lib Dems – who thrive on the oxygen of by-elections so much so that everybody now expects a sensation. Can they maintain the momentum?
  • Respect – not in the betting but campaigning strongly – and threatening to take anti-war votes from Labour and the Lib Dems. George Galloway has said that his aim is to hurt Blair but if enough anti-war votes go to his new party rather than the Lib Dems then Labour could hold on.
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