Betting on politics: two parliamentary seats worth a punt on

Matthew Partridge takes a look at the odds on two seats up for grabs in the next general election.

UK General Election, polling day, results, Manchester, UK - 08 Jun 2017

Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington
(Image credit: Copyright (c) 2017 Shutterstock. No use without permission.)

Even though there may not be an election until next year, Ladbrokes recently extended the range of parliamentary seats that it is taking bets on.

One obvious opportunity is Burnley, currently held by Labour's Julie Cooper. She won the seat in 2015 and retained it in 2017 with an increased majority of 6,373. Ladbrokes put a Labour victory at the next election at evens (50%), with the Conservatives at 2/1 (33.3%). The Liberal Democrats are at 4/1 (20%) and the Brexit Party is at 10/1 (9.1%).

The Lib Dems won this seat in 2010, so you'd think that they would be in with at least a chance of victory. However, since the area is heavily pro-Leave with two-thirds of the constituency voting to quit the EU, it's no surprise that they did dismally last time around, getting only 15% of the vote. While the Conservatives still have an outside chance, they will have a long road to climb to clinch a seat that is number 97 on their target list, so I'd stick with the evens on Labour.

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One seat that will definitely be remaining Labour is Manchester Withington, won in 2017 by Labour's Jeff Smith (pictured). While the Liberal Democrats prevailed there in 2005 and 2010, Labour won it in 2015 and again in 2017, with a massive majority of just under 30,000 votes. It's also important to note that even at the last European election Labour beat the Lib Dems in the Greater Manchester area. Overall, then, I'd take the 1/8 (88.9%) on the Labour candidate.

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