Five political markets to follow in 2018

The date of the next UK General Election

Whilst political betting is fast becoming a global phenomenon, nothing still quite compares to an election in the country that revolutionised it. Each of the last four years has seen a major domestic poll and our latest General Election involved a wider array of speciality markets than ever before. There is nothing major scheduled for 2018 but, given the febrile condition of UK politics, that could change at a moment’s notice. After all, there was nothing scheduled for 2017 either.

Ever since Theresa May scraped over the line in June, damaged and reliant on the DUP, speculation has been rife about how long her government can last. At various points, pundits have predicted she had just weeks left in the job. The government has already lost a key Brexit vote in parliament, along with several key ministers. History suggests such fragility is unsustainable in the long-term, which explains why 2022 – the official date of the next election – is trading barely ahead of either 2018 or 2019.

I’m not convinced. Even if the government is in meltdown, or May is replaced, it is not compelled to call an election. It would be a massive distraction from Brexit negotiations and Labour could only force it by marshalling non-Conservatives for a no-confidence vote – an extremely tricky task.

With the Tories trailing in the polls and fearful of losing the campaign like last time, there is no incentive whatsoever for them to give Jeremy Corbyn an opportunity to become PM any earlier than is legally required. At this stage in the electoral cycle, I’m backing 2022 at 3.25.

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