In the betting it’s LAB 1/2: CON 4/1: LD 4/1
There’s lots of confusion about the current status of Woolas which has been partly clarified by Paul Waugh’s Tweet.
My understanding is that all the parties had been operating on the assumption that if May’s result was voided then this would trigger off a by-election immediately. The date that was being talked about was Thursday December 2nd.
This does not leave a lot of time for candidate selection and there’d been reports that Labour had drawn up a provisional short-list in October.
My understanding, also, is that there’s been a lot of contingency planning ahead of today’s decision and the first leaflets could even be going out this evening.
No doubt, though, nothing is going to be distributed without the lawyers looking at material first!
This is going to be be a furious three-sided contest with the three parties throwing everything into it.
Ladbrokes were first out of the box to get a by election betting market up. All the early activity has been on the Lib Dems who have seen their price move in from 8/1 to 4/1 in a couple of hours. So far there has been very little interest in the blues or the reds.
Labour does not have the best of records with by-election defences in December. Last time it happened was in Falkirk West in December 2000 when a majority of 13,783 over the SNP was reduced to 705.
UPDATE: Only one bookie with a market now open on the by election. Smarkets have LAB 55%: LD 33.33%: CON 20%.