In betting terms the Richmond Park by-election is one of the tightest races in decades

In betting terms the Richmond Park by-election is one of the tightest races in decades


Currently the bookies make Zac the favourite by a whisker

I can’t recall the opening 24 hours of a political betting market where the outcome has appeared so tight. First the opening odds all made Zac the favourite. Then that moved to the LDs until news came through the the Tories would stand aside. That led to the Zac price tightening and for a short while you could get the LDs at longer than evens.

No more. The best you can get with the traditional bookies is evens on the LDs and 5/6 Zac.

An intriguing development has been the suggestion by three senior LAB MPs that the party should also stand aside.

The peg for this is the continued bitterness against Goldsmith for the manner, said to be racist, in which he ran his failed campaign for London Mayor earlier in the year. The efforts to try to portray Sadiq Khan as an extremist were clumsy and are going to feature a lot in the coming weeks. How he handles that could be crucial.

I don’t think that Labour would go so far as not putting a candidate up but, no doubt, Team Yellow will pick up some of the comments which will feature in specific appeals to LAB voters.

There’s also a suggestion that the Green party might also stand aside which might seem odd given Zac’s ecological background. Where he’s deemed to have gone wrong was backing LEAVE in the referendum.

The Tory exit from the race will make this even more a referendum on Goldsmith himself. For the moment my money, at odds of up 6/4, is on the LDs. They are the form team at the moment.

Mike Smithson

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