Is Nigel Evans Worth a Flutter?

Speaker Bercow is probably one of the few people in politics with more enemies than Guido. He has proved those former Tory colleagues who warned against him right in their minds by slapping down the PM at PMQs on bizarre grounds, having a stand up row with the Tory chief-whip and being widely perceived as partial by the government benches. His slightly dotty Labour-supporting missus, whilst adding to the gaiety of life with her demented twittering, does the Speaker no favours, the Tory press despises the couple. Rumour has it that at the last Labour Party conference the Mail’s Andy Pierce, much the worse for wear, insulted Sally Bercow with such misogynistic vitriol that she was reduced to tears and his own colleagues had to remove him from the bar. Suffice to say the Bercows get a terrible press.

Guido thinks in many ways Bercow is better than his predecessor, but he has clearly lost the confidence of a signifcant section of the House. Nigel Evans coming out is widely seen as a precursor to a putsch which has the acquiesence of the government benches if not their official imprimatur.

That being the case the new bet on the Speaker being ousted looks good value…

Why Did the Telegraph Hide “War on Murdoch” Story?

Good journalism is about revealing the truth about those in power. Robert Peston’s scoop is that the Telegraph kept back the bigger story, that Vince Cable the minister with a quasi-judicial role in deciding if News Corporation can increase its holding in Sky, had told the Telegraph’s undercover journalists that

“I have declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we are going to win”.

The Telegraph is of course locked in a corporate battle with Murdoch’s newspapers, its chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan, is publicly lobbying Vince Cable to block the takeover.

Somebody with a conscience at the Telegraph has risked their career to get the truth out, they can hold their heads high. The editor and the management of the paper should be ashamed of themselves for covering up and cheating their readers of the truth. Their venal self interest is a disgrace to journalism…

UPDATE : Lot of action on the next cabinet exit and David Laws to return bets on Smarkets.

Reshuffle Rumour Round-Up

Ken Clarke faced a second weekend being briefed against in the Sundays. Guido can only presume the talk of reshuffle and booting Ken out is coming from an increasingly infuriated Coulson who doesn’t like to see Ministers being hounded by The Sun for being soft on crime. Very new politics.

Philip Hammond isn’t having a good time either. While admittedly snow is out of his control, after all the fuss the Tories made in opposition when divine intervention ruined a government media grid, you would have at thought at least some sort of contingency plan would have been thought up. The betting markets moved when the PMOS had to defend him this morning.

While it would be very hard for Dave to fire Ken Clarke, there’s bound to be a shot across his bow. Rumour is that his junior ministers, Crispin Blunt and Jonathan Djanogly and Lord McNally face the chop, with David Laws being lined up to come and shake up the department. A hang ‘em and flog ‘em Tory backbencher is also expected to be deployed to dilute “soft” Ken. Still no word on when Laws will receive his expected slap on the wrist from the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, but bad news for those who put their money on a return before Christmas

How Many LibDems Will Say No to Pi-Nick-io?

Tonight’s tuition fee vote is the first real test of the LibDem’s willingness to be lashed to the mast as the coalition government sails the course of deficit reduction. The stupid pledge made during the election and the student centred Cleggmania have made them the focus of the backlash.

A ConservativeHome poll last week had Nick Clegg more popular with conservative supporters than LibDem voters. Now in government the days of being all things to all people are behind them. Solemn promises have been discarded, Sarah Teather looks on the brink of tears, Vince Cable squirms, Simon Hughes is loving the limelight. On Newsnight last night he was being a vote-tease.

Hughes pompously told us he is minded to abstain, but he might vote no – what a look-at-me wuss he is – clearly demonstrating he doesn’t know his own mind. At least Tim Farron and others are clear about voting against. The betting has punters expecting 10 to 20 LibDems to vote no.

UPDATE:

Oh how your words can come back to haunt you…

He Should Cocoa, Mitchell is Bookies Favourite to Go

Andrew Mitchell is not having a good time at the moment, Dispatches turned him over for having a few quid in a tax haven (who doesn’t?) and the Sunday Times has caught him intervening on behalf of Cocoa-finger, the commodity hedge fund trader Anthony Ward. Nothing wrong with backing British firms. Except when they make donations to your political office.  He has now been referred to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and is the bookies favourite to be for the chop from the Cabinet. Oops…

Will the Spending Review Spark a Resignation?

This Wednesday sees the Spending Review, when we discover where unfunded over-spending will stop. We are told that some ministers still have not agreed a budget. Vince Cable at Business, Michael Gove at Education, Theresa May at the Home Office, Ken Clarke at Justice and IDS at Work and Pensions – though he is said to be close to doing a deal with the Treasury.

It is barely conceivable that Gove would resign – he is a core member of the Cameron project and education is where the government intends to have made a reforming impact before the 2015 election. So no matter what he’ll still be in office on Thursday. Theresa May has the professional politician’s ability to accept and argue her brief no matter what – she is not one for political heroism – so expect her to remain facing Balls across the dispatch box for now. IDS has reportedly got most of what he wanted, he has a habit of threatening to resign more often than Mrs Fawkes threatens divorce. Unless Osborne double-crosses him at the last moment, IDS will stay put.

That leaves Ken Clarke at Justice, the bookies give him a 5% chance of being the next to resign, he could make a glorious end of career stand. He would go without much acclaim, the Treasury has run a successful briefing operation against him and Crispin Blunt, painting the liberal Justice team as soft on criminals and wanting more money for better meals for prisoners. Guido thinks it only worth a flutter if you like 20/1 long shots…

Vince Cable, is once again the bookies favourite to resign next – replacing Liam Fox who has successfully played his defence budget cards. In truth this is Vince’s last chance to exit the government with honour. As it is he permanently looks like he has swallowed a bee, if he wants to save his “progressive” reputation this is the rubicon, after he accepts the policies that derive from the terms of the Spending Review he can’t later turn back. A big decision, he is a vain old man, he’ll probably never have another chance to be in government. Is he really that principled?

Guido thinks there is a good chance that a LibDem lower down the juniour ministerial ranks will seek to make a name for themselves and lay down a marker for the future.  Smarkets have a bet on any government minister, at any level, resigning on Wednesday. Currently punters give it a 15% (11/2) probability. That looks worth a few quid…

It Ain’t Over till the Electoral Reform Society Sings


Guido has basically got his betting book flat on the Labour leadership, after backing David originally, flipping around onto Ed last Friday and adding to his position substantially during the week. Guido took the book to basically neutral last night, after selling Ed at ridiculously high prices going into the result.

Why? Because it is just too close to call with confidence.

Unless the Electoral Reform Society has leaked – something Guido doubts – the Thursday night flip happened because punters put money on Ed, it snowballed taking him beyond evens and making him favourite. There was no new poll or information on Thursday, the price moved simply and only because there were more buyers than sellers.

At the time of writing the specialist political bookies Smarkets* have Ed with an 80% probability of winning, it should be nearer 50/50 based on the polling and closeness of the count. Guido is tempted, on a valuation basis, to sell Ed at that price…

*As far as Guido can see they are the only bookies still making prices.

+ + + Ed Miliband Now Bookies Favourite + + +

David Miliband Preparing for Defeat

This morning the Guardian is reporting that Jim Murphy, one of David Miliband’s two campaign managers, attended a meeting with members of the Ed Milband camp to map out how they would handle Saturday’s leadership result in the event of […]

+ READ MORE +

Counting Begins

The campaigning is over, the counting has begun. For political punters like Guido there is a fascinating divergence between the punters and the pollsters, YouGov is calling it narrowly for Red Ed, the punters reckon it will be David Miliband.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Nervousness in David Miliband’s Camp

After reading endless tips from Mike Smithson on PoliticalBetting.com to back Ed Miliband, Guido switched his bets on Friday. David Miliband’s implied probability of victory had already dropped from 75% to 65% by the time Guido shifted his money from […]

+ READ MORE +

Pollsters Backing Ed V Punters Backing David

Someone is going to get a shock based on these Sunday Times/YouGov polling results. With two weeks to go until the results are known and voting already taking place it is, all are agreed, going to be close. Punters […]

+ READ MORE +



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Chuka has been trying to spin the Siemens row:

Chuka Umunna: It’s no different from Sky News quoting a business leader.

Adam Boulton: Except yours says ‘VOTE LABOUR’ at the bottom.

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