The Battle of Tewkesbury

The Battle of Tewkesbury

On the 4th May 1471 the Yorkist forces of Edward IV defeated the Lancastrian Army of Edward, Prince of Westminster in one of the most decisive battles of the Wars Of The Roses.   Although slightly outnumbered, the success of the White Rose gang was no great surprise and it is likely winning punters got little better than evens on their wagers.   Shrewd punters on the forthcoming election battle of Tewkesbury on July 4th 2024 may however do slightly better, and I shall explain why.

On the face of things this look a pretty safe hold for the Conservative incumbent, Laurence Robertson.   He won a majority of 22,410 in 2019, taking 58.4% of the vote over the 21.8% of the Lib Dem candidate with Labour back in third on 15.2%.   Electoral College suggests Robertson has the 33rd safest Conservative seat in the country, and even the LD target list only puts it as the 88th most likely to succumb to a Yellow surge.   A long shot, eh?   Well, maybe, but I want you to consider the odds.   Ladbrokes go:

                  Con                          4/6

                  Lab                           2/1

                  LD                              9/2

                  Ref                            50

                  Green                   200

These are doubtless informed by the national polls and MRPs like IPSOS,  which TSE featured in a recent thread header.   Their projection for Tewkesbury is:


Con                             33

                  Lab                              25

                  LD                                 23

                  Ref                               13

                  Green                         5

I think both sets of numbers are significantly wrong.   Specifically, it is the Labour figures that are well out.

The Labour Candidate, Damola Animashaun, doubtless has a fine political career ahead of her but she ain’t winning in Tewkesbury.   She is a Councillor from Kent with no obvious connections to the Gloucestershire seat.   Not that Labour has a particularly strong presence here anyway.   They have no representatives on the Council, which is now under No Overall Control.   The LDs are the largest Party with 16 seats, the Conservatives 9, Independents 9 and Green 4.   This is indicative of LD progress in the Cotswold area generally (they’re nailed on to take Cheltenham and pressing hard in a number of neighbouring seats) and if the number of orange diamond billboards I’ve seen is anything to go by, they are certainly Trying Here.   Labour by contrast haven’t so much given up as never started in the first place, a point made with characteristic subtlety in the LD flyer that just flopped through my door.   Tewkesbury, it appears, is on a list of non-battleground seats which looks like it was pirated from The Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit.   I think it is authentic, but whether it is or not, it makes perfect sense for Labour to step aside and not waste resources on a constituency which would be unlikely to fall Starmer’s way even with a 300 seat majority.   The indications are that Labour have done just that, which effectively leaves us with a two-horse race.

Cautious punters might like to back both Con and LD for a small but highly probable win.   A winning bet of, say, £120 on Robertson collects £80 and more than covers a bet of say £50 on Cameron Thomas, the LD Candidate, which would net £105 after paying for a losing Robertson bet.    Personally I’d go full on for either one or the other and since they both offer excellent value I’d be reluctant to urge anybody either way.   What I would emphasise though is that it is unusual to be able to eliminate so much of the book as one can do here – frankly Labour has little more chance than Green and Reform* – but when you can, any serious punter would consider it criminal not to have a bet.

Normally I wouldn’t write a thread piece on such a narrow subject as this: a post would  generally suffice, but as well as illustrating what opportunities open up when you spot a clear case of mispricing, I am hoping this piece will encourage others to report similar examples from their own localities, based on their own experience.   There isn’t much value to be had now on the main GE betting markets, but it must be very different with constituency betting.   The bookmakers simply don’t have the staff and expertise to get all of them right.  Nor do they really care that much.   It’s mostly a PR exercise for them and they protect themselves by restricting the size of your bets.   I got sixty quid on with Ladbrokes which is as much as I would want on a single constituency but I would be quite happy to snipe away at a dozen or more targets if our PB punters could suggest some.

Potentially there’s a lot of value out there.   Suggestions as to where exactly we may find it will be gratefully received.  

Peter the Punter

  •  For completeness I should mention the Independent Candidate, David Edgar, of the Christian People’s Alliance, who I think will be doing well to save his deposit.
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