Betting on politics: who will get the most seats in the general election?

Matthew Partridge casts his eyes over the odds on which party will get most seats in December's general election.

Nigel Farage © Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

(Image credit: Nigel Farage © Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

The passage of legislation ensuring an election on 12 December means that my advice to bet on an election happening in either October or November proved unfounded. However, my earlier tip, made back in August 2017, that there would be a general election in 2019, 2020 or 2021, has paid out. The news looks good for the bookies and betting exchanges too £1.27m has been matched on Betfair alone on which party will get most seats.

Given the Conservatives' lead in the polls, it's no surprise that they are the firm favourites to get most seats, with Betfair putting their odds at 1.18 (84.7%). Ladbrokes is also offering 1/6 (85.7%) on them being the largest party. In contrast, Labour's odds are 8.4 (11.9%). Punters on Betfair still think that there is a near even chance of another hung parliament at 2.06 (48.5%), with Ladbrokes offering slightly better odds of 11/10 (47.6%) on there being no overall majority.

Although I won't be making any tip on the above bets yet, I'm much more certain that Nigel Farage (pictured) won't be celebrating on 13 December, as Boris Johnson's entry into Downing Street has pushed support for his Brexit Party back down to just over 10%. Indeed, I'd be very surprised if it did better than Ukip's share in 2015. With Farage admitting that his party won't contest every seat, it's a good idea to take the 1.24 (80.6%) on Smarkets that Farage will not become an MP, as well as the 2.14 (46.8%) on Betfair on them getting fewer than 0.5 seats.

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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