Punters on Betfair make LAB a 53% chance on Betfair with UKIP at 29%, LD 11% CON 7%. UKIP's Doc Nuttall could fly the purples' flag pic.twitter.com/OsRzxzn028
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) January 16, 2017
Betting interest in the Copeland and Stoke by elections is starting to grow even though the sitting MPs have yet to resign.
The Copeland man, is off to join the Sellafield nuclear Centre and that’s expected to take place at the end of this month.
My guess is that Labour strategists will try to hold both by elections on May the 4th when there are the local elections as well as the string of contests for the elected mayors in the new English combined authorities. This will mean that many activists of other parties will be tied up on their home patches thus, LAB will hope, decreasing their campaigning capabilities in the Westminster by-elections.
On the face of it the Tories stand a good chance in Copeland and, indeed, are odds on betting favourite. In Stoke Central UKIP came second last time and there is a lot of hope within the purples that they can do it.
The Lib Dems, flush with their successes in recent Westminster and local by elections, are fired up and my sense that they’ll making Stoke the priority rather than Copeland if they are held on the same day. They have the benefit of having been in second place in 2005 and 2010 and also have held Council seats in the CITY.
Interestingly one of the Lib Dems’ leading campaigners, the man who masterminded the Sleaford and Hykeham north effort in which the yellows pushed Labour into 4th place, is from Stoke, was a councillor there and was the candidate at GE2005 when he came second.
This would seem to be ideal seat for the new UKIP leader, Paul Nuttall who clearly is hoping that under his leadership UKIP can pull up pull off a first past the post by-election victory for the first time without a defector/incumbent.
I’m waiting to see who the candidates are before placing any more bets.