LONDON — After such an unpredictable and shocking year in British politics it may seem foolish to bet any money on what will happen in 2017.
However, it is precisely this unpredictability, which means that there are so many tempting odds available at the bookies ahead of next year.
With this in mind, we have set out the most attractive odds being offered on British politics as we head into 2017 and what has all the ingredients to be another eventful year in British politics.
All odds are taken from Ladbrokes and correct at the time of writing.
The first big electoral test of 2017 will be the Copeland by-election, called after Labour’s Jamie Reed stood down.
So far bookies make the Tories narrow favourites on 5/6 ahead of Labour on 5/4. However, with no published polls and the by-election date not yet even set, neither of these odds look terribly attractive. You could place a bet on UKIP winning at 10/1 but this seems like a long-shot too far. The party received just 15% of the vote in Copeland at the 2015 general election and they have not done particularly well in other by-elections since the EU referendum. It’s also telling that new leader Paul Nuttall has ruled himself out of the running for this seat.
More attractive odds can be found in predicting the vote share for individual parties. The 4/1 odds that UKIP receives fewer than 10% of votes look fairly attractive as do the 10/1 odds that Labour gets between 20%-30%. While neither outcome currently looks likely, they are probably more likely than these odds suggest.
Until we get a by-election poll, these are the best value bets on offer.
- UKIP receives less than 10% of the vote — 4/1
- Labour receives between 20%-30% of the vote — 10/1
Plenty of money has been lost by people betting against Jeremy Corbyn in recent years. The Labour leader has proven to be surprisingly resilient despite huge internal unrest and polling figures which suggest his party are heading for electoral disaster.
However, there are still a few attractive bets available on Corbyn’s future, both for critics and supporters of the Labour leader.
One particularly attractive bet is that Labour will show a lead in at least one GB-wide opinion poll this year. Ladbrokes are currently offering 5/1 that this will happen. While the party is currently averaging a double-digit polling deficit behind the Tories, this is actually a better value bet than the headline poll numbers suggest. For starters, there is a huge variation in Tory leads found by different polling organisations. While some suggest the Tories could be anything up to 16 points ahead, a recent Opinium poll put their lead as low as seven points. With a hugely turbulent political year ahead there is every reason to suspect that this lead will shrink significantly. With most polls having a margin of error of between 2-3% it would only take one poor sample by one pollster for Labour to record a small lead.
For those feeling less bullish about Labour’s chances, there is also good value to be had in betting on the date of Jeremy Corbyn’s departure. Ladbrokes currently have 2020 and beyond as the favourite date for his departure. However, there are already indications that Corbyn could be planning a much earlier exit. There is lots of talk in Labour circles of a succession being planned for 2019, with Ladbrokes offering 8/1 that this will take place. This seems like an attractive bet, but if you don’t fancy tying up your money for that long then the 5/1 odds that he will go in 2018 also looks like good value.
- Labour will lead the Tories in at least one poll in 2017 — 5/1
- Corbyn will depart as Labour leader in 2018 — 5/1
Next Labour leader
Good odds can also be found on betting on who will replace Corbyn. Keir Starmer looks overvalued as the current favourite on 8/1. A far more likely successor is the joint second favourite Clive Lewis on 10/1. Lewis has strong appeal among the many new young members who have joined since Jeremy Corbyn became leader and he is quickly gathering support among some moderate members and MPs who see him as the most unifying figure with the best chance of succeeding Corbyn.
However, those looking for better value bets should look further afield at some of the up and coming female Labour MPs. In particular, Angela Rayner (16/1) Lisa Nandy (20/1) and Emily Thornberry (20/1) look like good value bets. But if you’re looking for really good value then you could do much worse than take the 66/1 currently being offered on the shadow chief secretary to the treasury Rebecca Long-Bailey. Although relatively little known at the moment, Long-Bailey is close to the current leadership and a smart operator. If Labour is looking for their first ever permanent female leader then Long-Bailey looks like an excellent bet.
- Clive Lewis to be next Labour leader — 10/1
- Rebecca Long-Bailey to be next Labour leader — 66/1
Leon Neal / Getty
Rebecca Long-Bailey is valued at 66/1 to be next Labour leader.
Exit of the Brexiteers?
There are some really attractive are the odds on which Conservative Cabinet minister will be the first to leave.
Even in politically normal times, Cabinet resignations are relatively frequent and these are by no means normal times. The three Brexit ministers, Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis, are the current favourites to leave on 5/1, 6/1 and 8/1 respectively. Any one of these would make an attractive bet.
However, you may be more tempted by one of the less well-known ministers. The Home Secretary Amber Rudd looks particularly good value at 20/1. Before Theresa May, the Home Office was traditionally a graveyard for ministers and Rudd already ran into trouble this year with her conference announcement about making companies ‘name and shame’ foreign workers. Rudd isn’t the only minister who looks precarious. Priti Patel (16/1) and the notoriously gaffe-prone Chris Grayling have also run into difficulties in recent months. With May already proving herself to be a ruthless operator, the chances of at least one cabinet minister being forced to fall on their sword over the coming year looks strong.
- Boris Johnson to be the first cabinet minister to leave — 6/1
- Amber Rudd to be the first cabinet minister to leave — 20/1
Bookies still make 2020 or later the most likely date of the next election. However, there appears to be plenty of people betting on a snap election next year, with odds now down to just 6/4.
While there are good reasons to believe Theresa May will be forced to call an election next year, better value can be found in betting that it will be held in either 2018 or 2019, both currently at 16/1. The latter of these two bets looks like the best bet as it would mean that the election would take place after the boundary changes have gone through in 2018. With the end of the Article 50 process also due for 2019, this would also allow the prime minister to use victory in the general election as an effective endorsement for whatever Brexit deal she manages to secure.
- A snap election to be called in 2019 — 16/1
You can compare odds with other betting companies on comparison sites such as oddschecker.com.
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