As the United Kingdom prepares to go to the polls on Thursday for the third General Election in just over four years, we’ve picked out our Top 5 bets for the 2019 Election.
Labour to win Stockton South @ 7/4 Ladbrokes
Two years ago, we tipped Dr Paul Williams to win Stockton South when his odds were 4/1, with the local GP too big a price to ignore. In 2017, Dr Williams was seen as a massive underdog on Teesside, with the Conservative candidate at the time, James Wharton, a huge odds-on favourite, at least partly due to the public support of Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson, who had declared his backing for Wharton in a letter posted to local residents. High visibility and an understanding of local residents had helped Dr Williams – who was initially a 16/1 shot – to defy the odds and win with a majority of around 800 votes, and ahead of polling day the Labour candidate appears to be massively overpriced once again. 7/4 at time of writing, Dr Williams again appears to be much more visible than other candidates in Stockton South, and the chances of the Conservatives (just 2/5 at press time) winning this seat will not be helped by candidate Matt Vickers pulling out of a local hustings; a bizarre decision given this is a tight seat which has changed hands in recent years. The bookies have got this one wrong.
Claire Wright to win East Devon @ 15/8 bet365
A traditionally Conservative constituency, the East Devon area has had a Conservative MP for over 150 years. But independent candidate Claire Wright has a good chance of ousting the Tories, who have held the seat since way, way back in 1868. The campaign has not been without incident, with vandals burning down an election placard at her parents’ house. Ms Wright’s mother said she believes the property was “probably deliberately targeted” in a sign of escalating tensions in the area. In favour of a second referendum, Wright was first elected as a councillor six years ago and has built a reputation in East Devon for fighting cuts to the NHS. She ran in 2015 and came second with 24% of the vote, then in 2017 she again came second but with an improved 35%. All signs point to the result being close on December 12th, and as the only candidate with a real chance of taking the seat away from the Conservatives – and with tactical voting a consideration for many across the United Kingdom – she looks overpriced at 15/8.
* Odds correct at 15:56 GMT on 5/12/2019
Turnout to be 65-70% @ 6/4 Ladbrokes
It was widely believed that a December election would lead to a low turnout, and various factors – cold weather, Christmas on the horizon, short days etc – would make it hard to persuade voters to have their say. However, some recent polling has suggested that this election is as important to voters as any previous election in the last few decades. Turnout in 2017 was around 69% and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see something similar this time, despite the weather forecast suggesting some parts of the UK could see snow on Election Day. We’re being slightly cautious by tipping turnout to be 65-70% in the market offered by Ladbrokes, but will likely have a smaller interest in the 3/1 (BetVictor) on turnout being in the 70-75% bracket as well.
Liberal Democrats to win Esher and Walton @ 15/8 Paddy Power
Esher and Walton is of course Dominic Raab’s seat and the foreign secretary had a 42% majority in his seat at the last election. Should Mr Raab hold to his seat? You’d think so, and at first glance, this looks like an improbable Lib Dem target. However, polling has suggested Raab could be at risk to tactical voting from Remain-backing voters in Esher and Walton (58% of the constituency voted for Remain in the 2016 EU referendum), and his lead at the start of this month was down to just 5%. It has been a largely disappointing campaign for the Lib Dems, but they have a strong presence on the ground, and their candidate, Monica Harding, may well deliver a “Portillo moment” as Remainers desert the Conservatives. Definitely one to watch!
No Overall Majority @ 5/2 Paddy Power
Since the Election was called, all polls have pointed to the Conservatives winning with a majority. However, in recent days some polls have the lead over Labour slipping to single digits, with Jeremy Corbyn’s party slowly closing the gap as Election Day approaches. Tactical voting is set to play a major part in the election result. Whether the Conservatives are able to win a majority could depend on whether Remain supporters vote for either Labour or the Lib Dems in constituencies where voting tactically is deemed to be the best way to beat the Conservative party. If polling has taught us anything over the past few years, it’s not to necessarily trust the polls. The bookies appear to think a Tory majority win is nailed on (a general 4/9 and as short as 4/11 with some firms at time of writing), but a hung parliament can be backed at a much more appealing price. As the polls narrow slightly, and factoring in tactical voting on December 12th, we’re on at 9/4 before the odds potentially shorten further, and a decade of political shocks and surprises comes to an end with one final upset.