Jeremy Corbyn’s odds of keeping the Labour leadership in the September 24 party election have improved dramatically since rival Angela Eagle dropped out of the race on Tuesday.
Eagle received support from 70 parliamentarians in the first round of MP voting, but Owen Smith managed to get 90. As the incumbent, Corbyn is automatically on the ballot following a controversial ruling by the National Executive Committee last week.
Corbyn and Smith are now the only candidates left, and bookmakers have decided that between the two Corbyn is the strong favourite to win.
This could have something to do with a YouGov Labour member poll released on Tuesday which suggested that Corbyn had more support than both Smith and Eagle put together, with 54% compared to Eagle’s 21% and Smith’s 15%.
Despite the poll, Smith’s chances could be worse: many bookmakers give him odds of 2/1 to win the election, perhaps acknowledging that Smith will now shore up the voters who would have voted for Eagle.
There is also the question whether the £25 ($33) voting fee for any Labour members who joined after January 12 will help or hinder Corbyn, with some suspecting that many Corbyn supporters will not be willing to pay that much if they think Corbyn will win anyway.
Smith, meanwhile, is having to counter claims that his past as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer means he advocates the privatisation of the NHS. Smith called the accusations “complete nonsense,” according to the BBC, and that he supported “a fully publicly funded NHS.”
Here are the current odds on Corbyn and Smith to win the leadership election:
- Ladbrokes: Corbyn 4/11 — Smith 2/1
- William Hill: Corbyn 4/11 — Smith 2/1
- Betfair: Corbyn 4/9 — Smith 13/8
- Paddy Power: Corbyn 4/9 — Smith 13/8
- Sky Bet: Corbyn 2/5 — Smith 7/4