Will Blair last the year?

Will Blair last the year?

    Is now the time to bet on an early Blair departure?

The pace of activity in the cash for questions inquiry has stepped up a gear with the dramatic news this afternoon that Labour’s chief fundraiser, Lord Levy has been arrested and then bailed. This followed the news this morning that Scotland Yard had contracted with California-based computer experts to try to track emails in Whitehall which had been deleted.

Both David Davis for the Tories and Norman Baker for Lib Dems are predicting that at some stage Tony Blair will have to be interviewed. Davis, said the arrest showed the situation was “extremely serious”.

In a BBC report Baker said: “There is no doubt that the longer this goes on, the closer it gets to the prime minister’s door…This only adds to the fin-de-siècle feel around Tony Blair.”

So what of the betting? Are the chances of Blair being forced out during 2006 better than the betting prices. I think so.

    Tony Blair is not in a strong position anyway. If the inquiry gets closer then the clamour for him to move on could be overwhelming.

For a long period I took the view that Blair would survive until the end of next year and bet accordingly. I got out of that position a few months ago when the inquiry started to look serious.

You can currently get 5/2 from Labrokes on a 2006 departure. There’s probably better value to be had on the Betfair market which is based on three month segments not annual ones. It’s currently 10/1 on Blair going in the period July-September 2006 with 4.6/1 available on the departure taking place between October and December.

Mike Smithson

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