Betfair opens by election and leader exit markets

Betfair opens by election and leader exit markets

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    Could the issues all link together over Ming Campbell’s future?

The Betfair betting exchange has opened five new political markets as part of its desire to increase the range of options available to punters.

That there should be betting on the two by elections is no surprise but it’s good that the firm has wasted little time in setting them up. Even though Labour starts from extraordinarily strong positions in both seats, as the general election figures show, by elections can and do spring surprises.

The excellent By-elections blog is now running regular news service on the contests with regular updates on what’s happening.

The other Betfair markets are on the exit dates for Brown, Campbell, and Cameron with options based on three month segments running through to January 2011 onwards. Early interest will focus, surely, on Ming Campbell who was the subject of press speculation at the weekend.

The Indy this morning reports that Campbell “….called yesterday on his detractors in the party to “have the guts” to tell him he should go, and rejected the anonymous whispering campaign against him. Dismissing attempts by some colleagues to turn a potential failure to win two by-elections on 19 July into a resignation issue, he tried to reassert his authority with a reshuffle.”

The term that is being used to define the markets is the one that we saw in the old Blair exit date one – “..When will Menzies Campbell officially cease to be leader of the Liberal Democrats? “. Betfair has consulted me about this and it’s hard to find a better form of words that cover all foreseeable circumstances.

My guess is that his party will do well enough on July 19th to ease the pressure and that whenever Campbell goes it will be on his time-table. In all these exit markets leaders are usually pretty resilient and go on longer than expected.

Next week. I’m off to Burgundy in search of local produce and Paul Maggs will be acting as guest editor. A number of guest slots are lined up including a comprehensive look at the electoral implications of AV by Rod Crosby. If anybody has other suggestions then contact Paul here.

Live blogging – the first Brown-Cameron PMQs. A new thread is scheduled to go up at 1145 so we can have live comment on the first PMQ confrontation between the two leaders. As ever the event starts at midday and goes on for half an hour.

Mike Smithson

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