Over the past three years it has become apparent that the UK has been living through what the ancient Chinese curse described as ‘interesting times’, ever since the previous Conservative Prime Minister gave us the Pandora’s jar that is Brexit, from which nothing good has so far emerged.
But where many see chaos, political punters see opportunity. The Brexit political earthquake has produced a series of aftershocks which continue to disrupt political betting markets, including those markets that usually tend to be stable and predictable.
A case in point is the Most Seats market for the next UK General Election. Given the current state of UK politics, you could realistically make a case for a general election being called at any point between next Monday and the end of May 2022. But what is most interesting about this market right now is that the traditional Conservative-Labour dominance appears to be cracking.
A Deltapoll survey of voting intentions at the next General Election, released on June 2nd, showed Labour on 26 percent, the Brexit Party on 24 percent, with the Conservatives on 20 and the Liberal Democrats on 19. Two days earlier, an Opinion poll had the same four parties separated by just ten percent, but with the Brexit Party in first and Labour second. And last week, a poll by YouGov caused a shock in the political world, when it showed the Lib Dems leading on 24 percent, with the Brexit party second and Labour and Conservative parties sharing third place on 19 percent.
The surge in support for Lib Dems and the Brexit Party is a clear reflection of the frustration of both Remainers and Brexiteers that the two mainstream parties are not adequately representing their core support, and that is reflected in the Most Seats at the next General Election markets.
The Conservatives are favourites at 11/8, with Labour at 6/4, but the Brexit Party is closing rapidly and is available at any price between 4/1 and 20/1, while the Liberal Democrats have shortened from their usual three-figure price to 14/1. Given the deeply rooted nature of both Labour and Conservatives, and the UK’s first-past-the-post system, it would be a mistake to assume that two-party dominance is over, but in the current volatile political climate, bookies are taking no chances.