On Thursday, the UK electorate will decide the +4,500 councillor seats servicing Britain’s local constituencies. Media reports of a Conservative fallout as Party MPs are ready to blame Boris Johnson for a predicted heavy loss of councillor seats following his handling of the Partygate scandal. As for Labour, Thursday’s results will serve as a barometer of whether Keir Starmer can lead the party back into power, winning seats in lost Red Wall constituencies.
SBC: Voting for local councillors, do Thursday’s results really reflect the ‘mood of the nation’ with regards to wider British Politics… Do Local Elections really matter
Sam Rosbottom (PR @ Betfair): Thursday’s local elections could be coming at a bad time for the current Conservative Government. If it turns out to be a tough night for the Tories, we anticipate movement on the Exchange’s Boris Johnson exit date markets. Currently, the Prime Minister is 5/4 to have left his role by the end of 2022.
This market has been very popular with punters, and we have seen his odds to leave Number-10 by the end of this year come in significantly already, around two weeks ago he was 2/1, while it has been matched at an all-time high of 17/1.
It’s incredibly tight at the moment, for him to step down as leader of the Conservatives next year is 5/1, while his resignation coming in 2024 or later currently has the same chance of him going by the end of the year at 5/4.
SBC: Weekend Polls indicated that the Conservative Party will be handed a bloody nose losing up to +500 councillors… Will this mark the end of the road for PM Boris Johnson’s leadership of the Conservative Party?
Matt Shaddick (Head of Smarkets Politics): It’s hard to believe that the local election results alone will signal the end for Johnson, no matter how bad they are.
For a start, it’s quite difficult to set a realistic benchmark for what would count as “bad” given the range of forecasts and how tricky it is to compare with four years ago when these seats were mostly last fought. Expectation management is in full swing on all sides and the truth is that most people will probably forget about these results in a week or so.
Still, a few places to look out for that would hurt the Tories: Losses in any of Westminster, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Somerset would be pretty hard to spin away. Those sorts of defeats would definitely add to the pressure for a PM who has a lot of other potential hurdles coming, not least the by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton which both look like bad news for the Tories.
SBC: How closely are Bookmaker monitoring Thursday’s Local Election results, and how will they impact wider UK markets for Conservative and Labour camps?
Chad Yeomans (Head of Communications & PR @ Betway): At Betway we expect Thursday’s local elections to be disastrous for the Conservative Party. Our political betting markets for the day currently have a Labour victory in the popular vote at an unprecedented 1/50, and 2/7 to capture the flagship London borough of Wandsworth.
Despite Tory struggles, however, we expect Boris Johnson to survive; he is 1/10 to still be in place at the start of July. The key aspect to watch will be not so much the Labour margin of victory, but the demographics of how this is achieved.
Meanwhile, Keir Starmer needs previous deserters to come back into the fold, there are, however, some indications that ‘newer’ Tory voters will simply stay at home, giving Labour victory largely based on a low turnout result.
If Starmer cannot get them to switch back in the midst of a tsunami of bad press for the Conservatives, then that is actually a very bad sign for their General Election prospects, however well Thursday may go for them in isolation.