Betting on politics: who will win the Lewisham East by-election?

Matthew Partridge casts an eye over the odds for the candidates in the Lewisham East by-election.


Current favourite, Labour's Sakina Sheikh

Ladbrokes has put a new market up on Labour's vote share in next month's by-election in the London seat of Lewisham East. It is offering 5/4 (44%) on 60%-70%, 2/1 (33%) on 50%-60%, 4/1 (20%) on 40%-50% 20/1 (5%) on 30%-40% and 50/1 (2%) on under 30%. This was once a marginal seat, and was held by the Conservatives from 1983 to 1992. But it has been consistently trending towards Labour, which won 67.2% at last year's general election.

Given these results, and the fact that Labour now controls every seat on Lewisham council (as well as having its candidate for mayor elected with 54% of the first choices), I'd be inclined to think that it will be almost certain to get somewhere between 50% and 70% of the vote, probably in the low 60s. I'd therefore bet on both 50%-60% and 60%-70% for combined odds of 77.8%. I'd recommend that you split a £10 betting unit £5.72 in favour of 60%-70%and £4.28 in favour of 50%-60%.

As noted previously, Ladbrokes is also offering money on who will be Labour's candidate. The party has shortlisted four candidates: Sakina Sheikh, Janet Daby, Claudia Webbe and Brenda Dacres, which makes it a bit easier to handicap this contest.

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I'd suggest you put your money on Sheikh at 13/8 (38%) and deputy mayor Daby 5/2 (28.5%) for combined odds of 66.7%. Both candidates seem to be campaigning energetically. Out of a £10 betting unit, I'd suggest that you put £5.71 on Sheikh and £4.29 on Daby.

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.

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