Dear Mr Betfair: a Deputy leadership market please

Dear Mr Betfair: a Deputy leadership market please

    Why can’t we bet on Labour’s other battle?

guardian 101006.jpgThe overnight headlines following Jack Straw’s comments about Muslim women wearing the veil has fueled further speculation about the Deputy Leadership chances of the former Foreign Secretary and leader of the House, Jack Straw.

Were his comments, which he must have realised would attract the big headlines, part of his plan to raise his profile ahead of next year’s election to choose John Prescott’s succession? He’s quoted as saying that before going public he “chose his words very carefully” and it has certainly caused huge interest and a big response.

But everything any senior Labour politician does at the moment is looked at in terms of the coming leadership elections and this is no exception. Could Straw be putting a marker down for Prescott’s job as well as getting his name into the frame should something happen to Gordon?

Certainly that’s how some punters are seeing the move. His Betfair leadership price dropped from 150/1 to 54/1 at the news. If something happened to Gordon or his bid then Straw would, surely, be a possible challenger?

What’s missing at the moment is a market on the Deputy Leadership. One or two bookmakers have put their toes into the water but overnight I checked through the sites of the eighteen leading online bookmakers and exchanges and could not find a single one taking deputy leadership bets.

Quite why this has not been featured I do not know. One of the reasons we’ve not covered the suggestion that the Dagenham MP, Jon Cruddas, might be running is that there has been no 24/7 market to link to. I know a number of people, including myself, have asked Betfair to open a market. So far nothing has happened. Let’s keep up the pressure.

For long terms bets like this most serious punters use the betting exchanges because you can opt in and out and make trading profits on price changes. You can also see precisely how much money is being traded. Some of the apparent big price moves in markets without much liquidity are based on one punter putting as little as £20 on.

Ladbrokes, meanwhile, is now taking “anybody but Brown” bets. The current price is 7/4 which is about the same as the Betfair “lay” Brown price.

Mike Smithson

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