LABOUR LEADERSHIP BETTING: Owen Smith's odds are tumbling

Owen Smith MP 2Matthew Horwood / Getty ImagesOwen Smith’s past work with Pfizer has come under criticism.

Owen Smith’s chances of becoming the next Labour leader are getting slimmer by the day, according to bookmakers.

Smith’s odds to win the next party election have been on a downward trend since third-placed Angela Eagle dropped out of the race, and lengthened even further since Wednesday. Eagle has since pledged to support Smith in his battle to be leader, but at this rate it could be a lost cause.

Ladbrokes and William Hill both had the same odds for Smith and Corbyn on Wednesday. But on Thursday, they moved Smith’s odds from 2/1 to 7/2 and 5/2 respectively. Corbyn’s odds, on the other hand, have shortened from 4/11 to 1/5 and 2/7 respectively.

The latest odds come on the same day that Jeremy Corbyn launches his own re-election campaign, in which he will promise to tackle the “five ills of 21st Century Britain” — inequality, neglect, insecurity, prejudice, and discrimination.

Smith has had a tough week as his opponents continue to criticise his past work as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which they say is proof he is not committed to a free and public NHS. Smith has since called the accusations “complete nonsense.”

Meanwhile, it seems the £25 ($33) voting fee for Labour members who registered after January 12 has made the party £4.5 million ($6 million) as 183,541 applications came through in the last 48 hours.

It is still too soon to say whether these recent applications are mostly Corbyn supporters or more centrist voters who want him out, but a recent YouGov Labour member poll suggested that Corbyn had more support than both Smith and Eagle put together.

Along with a general sense that most people do not even know who Smith is, bookmakers clearly think Corbyn is sticking around for a while. With the vast majority of MPs supporting Smith, many speculate that a Corbyn win could result in a Labour split as rebel MPs might decide their differences with Corbyn are irreconcilable.

Here are the current odds on Corbyn and Smith in the next Labour leadership:

  • Ladbrokes: Corbyn 1/5 — Smith 7/2
  • William Hill: Corbyn 2/7 — Smith 5/2
  • Betfair: Corbyn 2/11 — Smith 4/1
  • Paddy Power: Corbyn 1/5 — Smith 3/1
  • Sky Bet: Corbyn 1/6 — Smith 7/2

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