No early favourite has ever won a Conservative Party leadership contest
Since masterminding a famous election victory, George Osborne has soared in the betting to be the Next Conservative Party leader. From 9.4 (11%) when I tipped him in March, the Chancellor is now the clear 2.8 favourite, rated a 35% chance.
However political historians will confirm that being the early favourite for this contest is a far from comfortable position, and perhaps even a jinx. Remarkably, since the advent of political betting during the early 1960s, no early favourite went on to win any of the seven Tory leadership contests. Here’s how.
1963: Rab Butler loses to Lord Alec-Douglas Home
In the first ever big political betting heat, bookies and pundits called it spectacularly wrong. One of the leading politicians of his generation who had held every major office of state below PM, Rab Butler was considered a shoe-in for a job many felt he deserved earlier. However in a move that would be unimaginable now, and seemed outdated even 50 years ago, Tory MPs rejected him for an unelected peer, Lord Alex Douglas-Home.