In spite of Tony’s problems few punters are rushing to back Brown
Generally, whenever Tony Blair is in trouble, you see a spurt of betting on Gordon Brown in the Labour leadership market.
The big disincentive of locking up money on the Chancellor is the thought that you might have to wait years for the leadership to be resolved and for you to see a return. But in the past there’s been a rush to back Brown whenever Blair has looked vulnerable.
That was until this week. For in spite of coverage like in the latest Economist, the growing Labour loans affair and the Education Bill rebellion there’s been hardly any activity on the leadership betting market.
At 9am on Wednesday morning the total amount traded on the Betfair betting exchange on who will be Blair’s successor was Â£99,451. This morning the total stands at Â£99,610 – so it’s up just Â£159. Given the way the this figure is calculated less than Â£80 of new money has gone on Gordon.
The current price of 0.35/1 might look a real bargain when the Labour leadership contest actually starts.
The Independent, meanwhile, is speculating that Brownites have been trying to destablise Blair by raising the loans row to coincide with the Education Bill rebellion.
Under the heading PM’s supporters see hand of the Brownites behind media storm Andrew Grice writes “.. Downing Street is furious with Jack Dromey, the Labour treasurer, for his outspoken attack on being kept in the dark by Mr Blair over the multimillion-pound loans made to the party by three businessmen who have been nominated for peerages. Mr Dromey is married to Harriet Harman, the Constitutional Affairs minister, who is a close ally of Mr Brown and tipped as his possible deputy if, as expected, he succeeds the Prime Minister. Although Mr Blair and Mr Brown have been working closely together in recent months, the row over the loans has renewed the tensions between their supporters. The Blair camp claimed Mr Dromey’s attack, launched as the House of Commons voted on the Education Bill on Wednesday night, was deliberately timed to undermine the Prime Minister as he was weakened by having to rely on the Conservatives to save his schools reforms from defeat.