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General Election 2017: Is Moray going to be the big Tory scalp?

Theresa May wants to take Moray but it is a tough ask
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Neil Monnery continues his tour of key battlegrounds by looking at the seat of the SNP leader, Angus Robertson...

'There are many reasons to think the Tories can take this seat for the first time since 1983. Yet the odds of 5/6 for the SNP leader to hold his 9,065 majority seems like a great price.'

2015 Result:

SNP - 24,384
Conservative - 15,319
Labour - 4,898
UKIP - 1,939
Liberal Democrat - 1,395
Scottish Green - 1,345
Majority - 9,065

A few weeks ago I was watching an old episode of Mock The Week as the comedians discussed the Scottish Conservative Conference, they giggled at the collapse of the party north of the border. That episode first aired five years ago and boy, things have considerably changed since then.

The Tories are at 28% according to an ORB poll in Scotland last week. The SNP still lead nationwide at 41% but with polling numbers like that, it brings several seats into play that a few years ago wouldn't have even been on the radar.

Today I'm looking at Moray. The seat held by the SNP leader in Westminster Angus Robertson since 2001. The market has seen a lot of action here and at the time of writing, both the SNP and the Tories are available at 5/6 on the Betfair Sportsbook> Why are they so evenly matched according to the punters?

Firstly, the area voted to Remain in the EU Referendum by just 122 votes. 50.1% to 49.9%. Secondly, it also voted to stay part of the UK in the 2014 independence vote by a wide margin (57.5% voted to continue as part of the United Kingdom). So this area believes the UK is more important than the EU. Not good for the SNP.

Douglas Ross will be the Conservative candidate, and he's been a local councillor since 2007. In 2016 he became an MSP for the Highlands and Islands region. When we look at General Elections, Ross stood in both 2010 (5%) and 2015 (18%). So it is fair to say that the Tories are putting forward a real live candidate who knows the area.

Also Moray is going to be the icing on the cake for the Scottish Conservative Party if everything goes to plan. They are investing time and money in the hope of taking out Angus Robertson. The reason it is so important is this - if he loses, the SNP's call for a second independence referendum will be seemingly stalled if they can't even win the seat of their House of Commons leader.

Robertson gets to ask two questions at every edition of Prime Minister's Questions, which keeps up his public profile. After Nicola Sturgeon (who isn't standing for a seat in the House of Commons), he is by far their most high profile politician. Even more so than Alex Salmond. This is why I think they'll do everything they can to fight a rearguard action so he keeps his seat.

There are many reasons to think the Tories can take this seat for the first time since 1983. Yet the odds of 5/6 for the SNP leader to hold his 9,065 majority seems like a great price. He was 1/3 just 24 hours ago (with the Tories 3/1) so if you believe in the SNP, then the current price seems like a generous one.

Recommended Bet
Back the SNP to hold Moray at 5/6 on the Betfair Sportsbook

You can follow @neilmonnery on twitter where he'll be updating odds throughout the General Election to keep punters up with the news of where the money seems to be going.

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