Last night’s surprise victory by the Liberal Democrats in the Conservative stronghold of North Shropshire has sent shockwaves across betting markets.
In the aftermath of the result, Smarkets reports that PM Boris Johnson is odds on (56%) to leave his premiership at some point in 2022, spiking up from 46% before the North Shropshire result.
Of significance, the Lib Dem swing in North Shropshire was their second-highest ever at a by-election in a Conservative seat.
Lib Dem candidate Helen Morgan had started as a 10% outsider when Smarkets launched its by-election market on 4 November – with Morgan seeking to flip a constituency that Tories had held for the past 200 years.
The coin-toss market saw the top two candidates flipped 15 times overall, as Smarkets registered over a quarter of a million pounds traded on North Shropshire constituency – “the highest-traded by-election in Smarkets history and more than double that of the previous record”.
“This was the biggest betting by-election in Smarkets history and produced a stunning Liberal Democrat win. The Lib Dems had been favourites in advance of polling day, but the scale of this defeat will pile the pressure on Boris Johnson,” explained Matt Shaddick, Smarkets Head of Politics.
“Our latest prices now suggest it is odds-on that the Prime Minister will be evicted from Downing Street at some point next year.”
The North Shropshire loss sees confidence wane on whether PM Johnson can lead the party through its ongoing crisis period, following bruising scandals, resignations and the prospect of calling another lockdown winter.
Smarkets reports the chance of Johnson facing a ‘vote of no confidence’ from his own party before the next general election is also more likely than not at 58% – an outcome that registered at 35% last week.
“Rishi Sunak is the favourite to replace him at 28% likelihood, although Liz Truss’ prospects continue to improve and she is now at 16%,” Shaddick reports.
“Despite last night’s defeat, the Tories remain 62% favourites to win most seats at the next general election, although it is now odds-on that they will lose their majority, with a hung parliament currently trading at 51%.”