Betting on politics: Local council elections

This week, Matthew Partridge looks at Ladbrokes’ markets on next month’s local council elections.


Jeremy Corbyn: easy gains?
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This week we're going to take another look at Ladbrokes' markets on next month's local council elections. As you may remember a few weeks ago (issue 887), I tipped the Conservatives to retain control of Westminster council. They have held since it was created in 1964, and currently control three-quarters of the seats. While the odds that Ladbrokes are offering have narrowed slightly from 4/7 (63.6%), you can still get 2/5 (71.4%), so if you haven't bet on it yet, it is still worth doing so.

One of the more interesting contests is Trafford Council, where Jeremy Corbyn launched Labour's official campaign. On paper it should be an easy gain for Labour as two of the three constituencies that the area overlaps with are solidly Labour and the Labour group only needs to gain six seats to take control. What's more, there were some big swings to Labour at the last election. The problem is that only one third of the council will be elected this year and many of the Conservative seats are pretty safe.

On the other hand, if the Conservatives lose only two seats then they will lose overall control. From looking at previous elections, I'd say that Labour will probably gain around three seats, the Lib Dems at least one, with the possibility of one or two extra. I'd therefore bet on both no overall control (NOC) at evens (50%) and a Labour gain at 10/1 (9.1%). This gives you combined odds of 59.1% on the Tories losing control. In this case you should split a £10 betting unit by putting £8.46 on NOC and £1.54 on Labour.

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Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri