SBC News Betfair: Sunak faces losing record number of seats at next General Election

Betfair: Sunak faces losing record number of seats at next General Election

Betfair projects a bleak outlook for the Conservative Party and its plans to remain in government as the UK’s next General Election looms.

At this week’s Party Conference in Manchester, Betfair announced: “Punters on the Exchange are backing the Conservatives to lose more than 201 seats (5/2 – 29% chance) at the next general election.”

The favoured outcome among Betfair customers would signify a seismic shock in British politics, as in the past century, the Conservatives have lost more than 200 seats only once, in the 1945 election.

SBC News Betfair: Sunak faces losing record number of seats at next General Election
Sam Rosbottom – Betfair Politics

Reporting from Manchester, Betfair Politics Spokesperson, Sam Rosbottom, said: “It’s been clear for some time now that punters have pretty much made up their minds about the outcome of the next general election. Labour has been heavily backed in the last two years, and they are the odds-on favourites at 8/15 to win a majority.”

The Conference eagerly anticipates Rishi Sunak’s event-closing speech, as commentators continue to question whether the unelected Prime Minister can galvanise the Conservative base in the next election.

The PM is continually faced with concerns about his campaigning skills and his connection with the general public, having lost the 2022 Party leadership contest to Liz Truss.

“For Rishi Sunak and the Conservative party, the odds suggest that anything they hope to achieve between now and the country’s next visit to the polling station will be a case of damage limitation,” Rosbottom explained.

“So far, more than £3m has been traded on the Betfair Exchange’s next general election markets, with the majority favouring Sir Keir Starmer’s party across various markets.” 

Beyond Conference responsibilities, Sunak and his team face a crucial time period of no more than 15 months in which the Party rank and file must decide on headline policies to campaign for.

Highlighting the PM’s election challenges, Conference discussions revealed stark divisions between the PM and senior ministers on key policies related to taxation, the economy, inflation, migration, and the UK’s commitment to environmental pledges and international agreements. 

The long list of challenges confronting Sunak has led Betfair Exchange punters to bet on October-to-December 2024, priced at 4/9 (67%), as the probable date for the General Election.

Currently, Betfair gives Labour odds-on to win a majority at 8/15 (65% chance), while the Conservatives stand at 10/1 (9% chance) to retain their majority when the country next votes. 

To form a government, Keir Starmer and the Labour Party must secure a minimum of 130 seats. This challenging task will necessitate the Party reclaiming seats in the North and Scotland while preventing a resurgent Liberal Democrats from capturing constituencies in the South East and London.

Shifting the focus to campaign strategy, Rosbottom added: “We’ve taken numerous bets on the Tories to lose a record number of seats, with punters backing them to lose 201 or more at 5/2, which is a 29% chance. 

“Those odds could shift further with the forthcoming Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, where Labour aims to gain ground in Scotland. Starmer’s party are the overwhelming favourites at 1/20 (95% chance) to take the seat from the SNP.”

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