Yesterday, anticipating Clive Lewis’ resignation from Labour’s Shadow Cabinet, I advised a new bet on the Norwich South MP at 8/1, following on from much earlier advice at 25/1. Today’s article discusses his prospects and the wider Labour crisis.
New bet in light of looming Labour drama: Backed Clive Lewis 20 units @ 8-1 for next leader. Pressing up on earlier position.
— Political Gambler (@paulmotty) February 8, 2017
When looking forward to the biggest political markets of 2017, I predicted the turmoil within the official UK opposition would present endless talking points and therefore betting opportunities. Less than six weeks in, the Jeremy Corbyn saga is already dominating front pages.
The Labour Party was already bracing itself for two extremely tricky by-election defences, both scheduled for a fortnight today. Any plan to present itself as a coherent, united force to the voters of Stoke and Copeland has already turned to dust, with Brexit tearing them apart.
After yet another front-bencher resigned – having refused to follow Corbyn’s ill-advised three-line whip supporting Article 50 – punters rushed to back the troubled Labour leader for an early exit. From 1.8 when tipped a fortnight ago (56%), Corbyn was backed down to 1.14 to leave post before the next general election. That equates to an 88% likelihood. He was even backed at 3.1 (32%) to be gone by the end of March.
Although these odds have since drifted to 1.35 (74%), the logic behind such a bet is obvious. Unless Theresa May engineers an early election – not a straightforward move nowadays, due to the Fixed Term Parliament Act – Corbyn would need to survive for another three years. This despite catastrophic personal and party ratings, languishing double-digits behind the Tories – compared to being ahead at the same stage of the last parliament.
Corbyn would need to survive with increasingly few allies. The special significance of last night’s resignation was that Shadow Business Secretary Clive Lewis was an ally who loyally supported Corbyn during last year’s attempted coup. The 45-year-old former soldier is often mooted as a potential replacement. Indeed, I’ve been advising bets on him since last July when available at odds of 26.0.