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Betting on politics: Conservative Party leader update

Bettor interest in the contest to decide who will become the next Conservative Party leader is at fever pitch. Matthew Partridge looks at the latest odds.

Jeremy Hunt © TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

Betting interest in the contest to decide who will become the next Conservative Party leader is at fever pitch £11.8m has been wagered on the contest at Betfair alone. Despite the recent media storms, Boris Johnson still remains the firm favourite at 1.4 (89.2%) compared with 6 (16.7%) for Jeremy Hunt (pictured) 7.4 (13.5%). Bet 365 is offering slightly more generous odds of 1/5 (85.7%) on Johnson; the best odds that you can get on Hunt is 4/1 (20%) from Ladbrokes.

In terms of the vote share, Ladbrokes is offering 20/1 (4.7%) on Johnson getting less than 40% of the vote, 5/1 (16.7%) on 40%-50%, 3/1 (25%) on 50%-60%, 7/4 (36.3%) on him getting between 60%-70%, 3/1 (25%) on 70%-80% and 12/1 (7.7%) on his getting more than 80% of the vote. Paddy Power takes a similar view on the vote share Johnson is likely to win. It is offering 12/1 (7.7%) on less than 40%, 7/2 (22.2%) on 40%-49%, 3/1 (25%) on 50%-59%, 9/4 (30.8%) on 60%-69%, 10/3 (23.31%) on 70%-79%, 9/1 (10%) on 80%-89% and 20/1 (4.7%) on 90%+.

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Early polls suggest Johnson has the support of around 60% of Conservative councillors, but I think this will come down as his many weaknesses and characters flaws are exposed. I think that it's more likely than not that he'll get less than 60% of the vote. I'm therefore going to recommend that you bet on Johnson getting either 40%-50% or 50%-60% with Ladbrokes at 5/1 and 3/1 respectively. This works out at combined odds of 50%. To split a £10 betting unit properly, put £3.33 on 40%-50% and the rest on 50%-60% (the bet is void if either candidate withdraws).

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