With the contest to become the next Conservative leader heating up, punters are pouring money into the betting exchanges. In all, £3.85m has been wagered on Betfair on the identity of the next Conservative leader; on Smarkets £1.8m has been bet. At the moment Boris Johnson is the clear favourite, at 1.66 (60.2%) on Betfair, followed by Jeremy Hunt on 7 (14.2%), Andrea Leadsom on 9.4 (10.6%) and Michael Gove on 17 (5.8%).
There are also a lot of subsidiary markets to consider. A total of £53,000 has already been wagered on Betfair on who will make the final two, for example. In this case the leading candidates are Boris Johnson at 1.26 (79.3%), Hunt at 1.4 (71.2%), Michael Gove at 3.7 (27.2%), Rory Stewart at 3.9 (25.6%), Andrea Leadsom (pictured) at 6 (16.7%) and Dominic Raab at 10 (10%). There has even been £9,469 bet on the number of MP ballots, with four currently the favourite at 2.66 (37.5%), followed by three (36.2%).
As I have already made tips on the identity of the winner in the summer of 2017, and conscious of my rule not to bet on the same contest twice, I’m going to have to stand aside. I think it unlikely that Leadsom could make the final two, but the odds may have shifted by the time this reaches you, with the first ballot due to start to take place on Thursday, so I can’t formally recommend betting against her.