Owen Smith’s chances of beating Jeremy Corbyn in the upcoming Labour leadership election have crumbled — even after Ed Miliband gave a public endorsement on Monday.
Most bookmakers placed Smith’s odds at an average of 5/1 last week, but in the wake of Miliband’s backing, those odds have lengthened to an average of 7/1 — just a 12% chance.
Appearing in a YouTube video on Monday, Miliband said he backed Smith for his “serious” and “progressive” credentials:
“I want a Labour leader who can rise to the challenge of this moment. I want a Labour leader who can unite our party and make us a serious alternative government. I want a Labour leader who will reach out to every part of Britain and can do what Labour has done in the past, which is out of this crisis, make a progressive moment.”
Miliband was the Labour leader prior to Corbyn but quit the position after the Conservatives won a majority in the 2015 General Election.
But his backing of Smith has not changed the mind of bookmakers. William Hill even went so far as to give Corbyn winning odds of 1/20 after one customer recently put a £60,000 ($78,000) bet on the current Labour leader.
Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill, said: “The customer told staff that his last bet had been £100,000 on the undefeated superstar racehorse Frankel, who was always a big odds-on favourite to win his races. He considers Corbyn to be a political Frankel in terms of the current race.”
While Miliband’s ineffectual endorsement is good news for Corbyn, he may have another civil war to worry about. Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson claimed this week that the party was being taken over by far-left “Trotskyist entryists,” adding in a letter to Corbyn that “it’s not a conspiracy theory to say that members of these organisations are joining Labour. It’s a fact,” according to The Telegraph.
For now that seems to be having no impact on the direction of the Labour leadership contest. Here are the current betting odds on Corbyn and Smith:
- Ladbrokes: Corbyn 1/12 — Smith 6/1
- William Hill: Corbyn 1/20 — Smith 8/1
- Betfair: Corbyn 1/14 — Smith 7/1
- Paddy Power: Corbyn 1/12 — Smith 11/12
- Sky Bet: Corbyn 1/12 — Smith 13/2
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