Is 6/4 a good value bet?
Ladbrokes has a bet at 6/4 that an MP will defect to UKIP before the general election. It looks like a reasonable punt.
The problem for potential MP defectors is that UKIP has never even come within a whisker of winning a Westminster seat and the chances of holding on at a general election must be low.
So a potential defector would have to factor in losing both their job and parliamentary salary.
As we saw last Thursday UKIP, did well in vote terms in the local elections showing a significant increase on four years ago. In the seats where they were standing the party averaged 14% and, in the process, took a lot of votes from the Tories but did not win, overall, any more seats.
UKIP’s election machine is not well suited to the first past the post process used for Westminster and for English local elections. The party does, however, do extremely well from the party list system used for elections to the EU parliament.
Last time the purples chalked up more votes than Labour to finish in second place. Next time these are up, in June 2014, it is conceivable that UKIP could finish up with most votes.
Whatever it looks as though there will be more UKIP MEPs from 2014 which, I’d argue, makes the possibility of MP defections that much greater.
An MP could jump ship now to UKIP in the knowledge that he/she would have a good chance of winning a place at the EU parliament and be able to continue a political career.