Even the most optimistic, glass half-full Conservative MPs will have known that their party was going to get a kick-in at the polls during the local UK elections, which took place on May 4.
But nobody would necessarily have foreseen the carnage that unfolded as the Tories took an almighty kick in the ballots.
At a point when only half of all councils had published their results, the Conservatives had shipped some 456 councillors – with many more expected to follow as extra results are released.
Labour have been the chief beneficiaries, gaining more than 250 seats (and counting) including key battlegrounds like Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Blackpool and Swindon.
The Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have also enjoyed big wins at the polls – the latter, in Mid Suffolk, winning their first ever majority, and condemning the Tories to a woeful Coronation weekend.
From shorting the economy and Partygate to allegations of corruption and in-party bullying, a number of key figures within the Conservatives have already paid the price with their jobs – Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Dominic Raab among them.
Now, you suspect the crosshairs will be trained on Rishi Sunak, and whether he has the power and the guile to convert a dismal local election performance into something rather more positive when the next General Election rolls around, which will probably be the summer of 2024.
Unsurprisingly, the political betting markets have seen a search of money coming in over the past 24 hours, so where have the biggest movements been made?
Next General Election Betting
The most popular betting markets for politics betting in the UK are linked to the General Election, and there has been a generous shift in sentiment here.
The Most Seats category is one of the most liquid on the Betfair Exchange with more than £1.2 million matched already, and Labour’s prominence here has solidified on the back of the local election results – Sir Keir Starmer’s outfit backed in to 1.25 from a general 1.50 prior to the polling action.
Surprisingly, the Lib Dems have drifted out to 220.00 despite some success at the local ballots, with the Tories sinking to a 4.90 from a mark of 3.00 earlier in the week.
Thanks to their success locally, there has been a turnaround in Labour’s fortunes in the Overall Majority market too – no overall majority has long been the favourite, but Labour are now just about odds-on to replicate their achievements on a national absis.
But when will the UK electorate next go to the polls? Unsurprisingly, the Tories will be in no rush to call a General Election, and may instead opt to wait until the school summer holidays in 2024 – they’ll be hoping that Labour supporters are away on their jollies.
Consequently, 2024 or later for the next General Election date – the next one has to happen before the end of January 2025 – is as short as 1.04.
Next Prime Minister Betting
In one sense, the local elections don’t actually reflect the overall national picture.
It’s thought that a lot of Conservative supporters chose to stay at home on Thursday – perhaps out of apathy, or maybe as a form of protest against how their party has been run.
But they’ll be out in force for a General Election, while those that have voted for Labour, the Lib Dems or the Green Party will be challenged to follow through their support on a national scale – is Starmer a commanding enough presence to get voters turning out in their droves?
Either way, Starmer has shortened from 1.50 to 1.28 to be the next Prime Minister, while the name second on the list may just interest some punters who believe Sunak will get the elbow prior to the next General Election: Boris Johnson can be backed at 22.00.
Next US President Betting
And if all that activity has whet your appetite, how is the betting market for the next American election – due to take place next year – shaping up?
Believe it or not, those two old war horses Joe Biden and Donald Trump look set to lock horns once more at the ages of 81 and 77 respectively.
Biden just shades it at 2.9 to Trump’s 3.7, but the implication from the betting market is that these two veterans of the political game will once again be at loggerheads late next year.