The Liberal Democrats have replaced the Conservatives as favourites to win next week’s North Shropshire by-election following revelations over many Christmas parties being held in Number 10 last December during the lockdown.
The Lib Dems are rated 50% likely to take the seat according to Smarkets odds, up 14 percentage points, with the Tories slumping to 49% having been as high as 80% for what would normally be considered a safe seat for them.
Meanwhile, our market has seen a sharp increase in the prospects of Boris Johnson leaving his position in the next 12 months. An exit date of 2022 or earlier for the Prime Minister now stands at 40%, up from 28% yesterday.
Note: prices do not always add up to exactly 100%
Patrick Flynn, Smarkets Head of Political Markets said, “A Liberal Democrat win in North Shropshire next week would follow in a long line of by-election successes in Conservative seats. Since 1979, more Liberal Democrat (including Liberal and SDP) candidates (16) have won Conservative-held seats in by-elections under a Tory government than actual Conservatives.
“While that is the case, a historically large 23-point swing (the third largest of those 16 by-elections) would be required for the Lib Dems to take this seat from the Tories.
“However, the last 24 hours have been difficult for the government with more fuel poured on the fire of the Christmas party affair. It’s often hard to estimate the levels of ‘cut-through’ for breaking news stories like this, but this is where prediction markets come in handy.
“We have seen rapid shifts in the Conservatives’ fortunes overnight, with the chances of a Lib Dem win in North Shropshire next week and an early exit for Boris Johnson both surging. The markets appear to suggest this story is potentially very bad for the government.”