Could it all be over by tomorrow night?

Could it all be over by tomorrow night?

    Will the runner-up tomorrow concede defeat and avoid the membership ballot?

As the BBC is reporting tonight Tory officials are preparing for the possibility that the whole Tory battle could be over this week. With so many MPs now switching to David Cameron the suggestion is being made that whoever comes second might pull out and not put the issue to the final ballot of the membership.

For this to happen Cameron would need to be so far far ahead in tomorrow’s vote that it would be hard for the runner-up in the MP’s ballot to sustain the fight. A threshold of at least 50% of MPs voting tomorrow would surely be needed.

    Such a decision would mean that winning punters could be paid by the weekend.

As the chart showing the implied probability of victory based on best betting prices shows David Davis and Liam Fox have had different experiences of the leadership race in the past month but both are heading in the same direction.

Cameron has continued to pick up huge support on the betting markets during the day and now the best you can get is 1/5.

In the fight for second place Davis has retained a lead over Fox in the betting but the gap has been narrowing and it still could be Fox manages to squeeze into the runner-up place on the exchanges and with the conventional bookies. The IG Binary spread-market has now put Fox as second favourite.

In the last two Tory leadership elections David Davis has pulled out even though he did not have to. After the re-run first ballot in 2001 Davis came second from bottom but decided not to carry on his fight. In 2003 he stood aside to let Michael Howard have a clear run. Could he do the same tomorrow if the numbers do not add up?

Leadership Betting
Best betting exchange prices; Cameron 0.2/1: Davis 7.4/1: Fox 12.5/1
Best bookmaker prices; Cameron 2/11: Davis 7/1: Fox 8/1
IG’s Binary spread-market. Cameron 79-87: Davis 5-11: Fox 6-12

Mike Smithson

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