But isn’t 4/5 looking like good value for money?
According to Ladbrokes this afternoon there’s been a fair bit of activity on their Bedford mayoral by election market but they have not laid a single bet on the Tories.
As a result the Lib Dems have moved in from 2/1 to 5/4 while the Tories have eased from 1/2 to 4/5. Labour is still at 10/1.
Clearly the manner of Parvez Akhtar’s selection on Monday has not been welcomed in all sections of the local party but my understanding is that national Tory HQ is delighted.
The prospect of him winning what’s likely to be the biggest election before the general election could play a role in the presentation of Cameron’s “new” Conservative party. Expect a Mayor Akhtar, if he wins, to be deployed in other key Tory targets where there are large Muslim communities.
The Tories are committing a lot to the fight with at least three full-time staff from HQ now working on the campaign and Akhtar is likely to be introduced to delegates at the Tory conference in the week before the vote.
A big challenge that all the parties face is the extraordinarily tight legal limit on how much they can spend. In a parliamentary by-election this is Â£100,000 – in this election the total is less than Â£10,000 or only about 10 pence per elector during the whole four week effort.
This is going to make it hard to get literature produced and distributed and the main contenders are monitoring closely the activity of their opponents to make sure that they keep within the rules. Unless expenditure is strictly controlled you can see breaches being made.
As to the betting I think that the Tories at 4/5 are now at the point where they maybe value.