UK Politics: Tories odds-on in early betting for December by-elections

  • Max Liu
  • 3:00 min read
A UK election polling station
There will be by-elections on 2 and 16 December

Get the early odds on the by-elections in Old Bexley and Sidcup and North Shropshire which will both take place in December. Max Liu has the latest...

The Tories are 3/10 to hold Paterson's former seat with the Lib Dems 10/3 looking like their nearest challengers and Labour 12/1.

Two by-elections have been scheduled for December amid a rising atmosphere of acrimony and recrimination in the Conservative Party over allegations of sleaze.

The first will take place in Old Bexley and Sidcup on 2 December and follows the death of the sitting MP James Brokenshire.

The Conservatives are heavy odds-on to win in the South East London constituency that has only ever elected Tory MPs since it was established in 1983.

Brokenshire was re-elected in 2019 with a majority of 19,000 so it would be an enormous surprise if that were overturned when Louie French stands for the Conservatives next month.

Still, there have been reports from the constituency that indicated voters there were shocked by the sleaze scandal that has gripped the party in recent weeks.

That came about after Boris Johnson tried to exonerate Owen Paterson, who breached parliamentary rules on lobbying, only for the government to perform a u-turn and for Paterson to resign as an MP.

Boris Johnson conference speech.jpg

Paterson's resignation means there will be a by-election in North Shropshire on 16 December.

This is where things could get interesting. Paterson held the constituency since 1997. Two years ago, Labour came second in North Shropshire, with the Liberal Democrats third. Paterson took 62.7% of the vote.

The Tories are 3/10 to win it again this time with the Lib Dems 10/3 looking like their nearest challengers and Labour 12/1.

But there are signs that, at least nationally, the sleaze scandal is cutting through with the public like little before it.

Two recent polls have shown Labour overtaking the Conservatives while the Britain Predicts model says there would be a hung parliament if a general election were held now:

That's consistent with the odds on the Betfair Exchange.

The Conservatives have drifted to 2.568/5 to win a majority next time Britons go to the polls and no over all majority is the favourite at 2.166/5.

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