But how long will the Tories have to wait?
On election night there’ll be a betting market that is even more of a foregone conclusion than that on Labour winning most seats – the one on which constituency will declare first.
And given the amazing performance of Sunderland South last time it’s hard to see any other seat getting a look in. For the declaration of Chris Mullin’s victory from Wearside came at just 10-43 pm – three minutes faster than what was achieved in 1997. The time margin over the runner-up was so great that if it had been a horse race or an athletics event there would have been a full doping inquiry!
But how long is Michael Howard going to have to wait for the first Tory declaration and which seat will it be?
For at the last two elections the combination of the Labour landslides and the English County Council elections taking place on the same day has meant that the first Tory seat has come several hours after Sunderland South.
In 2001 the Tories had to wait until 1am for the 84th declaration of the night for their first seat – Poole in Dorset. That was three minutes faster than 1997 when Solihull became the first for John Major.
One of the bookmakers has been in contact with us discussing ideas for interesting election markets. Given the near certainty of Sunderland South for Labour we’ve suggested they do something with the Tories – either how long will Michael Howard have to wait or which seat it will be? This depends on a number of factors:-
These were the only seats to declare before midnight last time:-
22:43 Sunderland South
23.21 Hamilton South
23.38 Houghton and Washington East
23.45 Barnsley Central
Â© Mike Smithson 2005