Back in March, I recommended a bet on the UK holding a General Election in 2019 at odds of +176 (7/4). That bet went to the wire before ultimately winning – the election will be held in less than two weeks, on December 12. As always it is a huge betting heat, involving hundreds of different markets.
The ongoing, delayed, divisive Brexit process is naturally centre stage. New Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson was elected by his party in the summer on the back of his perceived purity on the issue.
He led the Leave campaign and his previous resignation from the Foreign Secretary role, in protest at his predecessor’s Brexit deal, was pivotal in costing Theresa May her job and therefore creating a vacancy.
Having won the subsequent leadership contest, Johnson negotiated a slightly different deal. However, fearing it would fail to pass through Parliament without a confirmatory referendum attached (anathema to Brexiters), the new Prime Minister engineered a snap election. His slogan is simple and effective: ‘Get Brexit Done’.
In order to achieve that, Johnson needs to fare nine seats better than May did in 2017 and win an overall majority in Parliament (326 seats). If the Conservatives fall short, the opposition parties will collude to either create an alternative government or at least demand a second Brexit referendum.
That pursuit of a majority defines the election and the principle betting market.
It is all but certain that the Conservatives will win the most seats – best odds -2000 (1/20) (Ladbrokes, Sportingbet) – but less so that they’ll reach 326.
Forget the last one.
To have any chance of a majority, Labour would need to suddenly revive in Scotland, where they used to dominate. However, their base has since largely transferred to the Scottish National Party – an ally over Brexit and likely partner in government, were results to fall their way.