Betting on politics: the next Lib Dem leader

Vince Cable is to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats. Matthew Partridge looks at the odds on who will replace him.


Jo Swinson is one favourite to succeed Cable
(Image credit: 2019 Getty Images)

More than a week ago, the Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable announced that he plans to step down as Lib Dem leader. Even given the ongoing drama around Brexit, and the fact that Cable's plans were known for some time, it was significant how little attention this gathered from the media.

There is an outside chance that the leadership election could be postponed from the provisional date of May due to an early election, a second referendum or the Lib Dems deciding to merge with The Independent Group. Still, both Ladbrokes and Betfair have markets on the outcome. Ladbrokes has Jo Swinson (pictured) as the favourite at evens (50%), followed by Layla Moran at 11/8 (42%), and then Ed Davey at 8/1 (11%) and Tom Brakeat 20/1 (4.7%).

Other candidates include Norman Lamb at 33/1 (3%), Alistair Carmichael and Jamie Stone at 50/1 each (2%) and Tim Farron at 100/1 (1%). Betfair has Swinsonat 2.0 (50%), Moran at 2.6 (38.4%), Davey at 8.0 (12.5%) and Lamb at 14.5 (6.9%).

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There seems to be a general feeling within the Lib Dems that it is time for a female leader, which suggests that the betting markets are right that that will either be Swinson or Moran. My guess is that Swinson's involvement with the 2010-2015 coalition, which proved to be disastrous for the Lib Dems, will make it very difficult for theLib Dems to elect her.By contrast, Moran who was elected in 2017 represents a clean break with the past. So I suggest that you go with Betfair's 2.6 on Moran.

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