One of the political contests which regularly generates enormous action at bookmakers is the race for Mayor of London. The next election isn’t until 2016 but speculation is already at a fever pitch, and of course, odds have already been posted for the new round of London mayor betting.
What Will Boris Do?
It’s hard for punters to get a good handle on the race while the “Boris Johnson situation” is still up in the air. Johnson had originally ruled out running for a third term as mayor, but he’s begun to equivocate on the matter. He recently said on a call-in show that he’s now considering another run – even while insisting in the same response that he still plans to step down. Of course, Johnson’s the incumbent, and some polls have shown him to be the most popular politician in the nation; he would certainly be a strong opponent for any mayoral challenger.
Labour will soon begin its process for selecting a nominee, and given their recent ballot successes in London, it’s expected the party will field a strong candidate in the mayoral race. In a recent YouGov poll, three MPs who are said to be considering a run were ranked 1-2-3 by respondents when asked which Labour candidate would make the best London Mayor: Tessa Jowell, Diane Abbott and David Lammy. Jowell led with 11 percent, followed by Abbott with nine percent and Lammy with six percent. Coming in behind them at five percent was MP Sadiq Khan. As shadow minister for London, Khan has been viewed as a very attractive dark horse candidate because he spends a lot of his time engaging with London politicians and public as part of his duties.
To date, journalist and pundit Christian Wolmar is the only declared Labour candidate, but others such as Doreen Lawrence (a Member of the House of Lords, but best known for her community activities after the murder of her son Stephen during a racist attack some 20 years ago), former Secretary of State for Transport Lord Andrew Adonis, and MP Margaret Hodge, the former Minister for Culture and Tourism, are also said to be considering a run for mayor.
Several potential Labour candidates have declared themselves out of the running, including former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, former Mayor (and 2012 losing candidate) Ken Livingstone, and comedian/activist Eddie Izzard.
A year ago, Khan presented a terrific opportunity for punters, when he was listed as 33/1 for the mayor’s seat. He’s currently listed at 6/1 which could still be a very good bet, considering his advantage as shadow minister. Other current odds for potential Labour candidates are 9/2 for Jowell, 12/1 for Lammy and Alan Johnson, 20/1 for Abbott and Adonis, and 25/1 for Hodge and Lawrence. Those who haven’t indicated any plans to stand but are still listed by bookmakers include MP Jon Cruddas at 25/1 and Lord Alan Sugar at 33/1. Wolmar is a decided long shot at 100/1, with many other second-tier Labour possibilities viewed as stronger contenders, even if they’ve declined to stand (such as Izzard, who is still available at 33/1).
While it’s not expected that a Conservative will win the mayoral race in 2016, a number of candidates are considering a run.
The man who most Tories would like to see as their standard bearer, Lord Sebastian Coe, has publicly ruled out a return to politics after his time as MP and chairman of LOCOG. However, it’s been reported that party officials have asked Coe to reconsider and to stand for mayor of London.
Those said to be thinking about getting into the race are Shaun Bailey, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Youth and Crime; broadcaster and journalist Karren Brady, known as “the first lady of football” for her stints with West Ham United and Birmingham City, and also known for her appearance on “The Apprentice,” and philosopher/theologian Phillip Blond, who also has his own Conservative think tank.
Party officials understandably aren’t excited about the chances of any of those candidates against a popular Labour MP. That is why they are strongly asking Coe to change his mind about a run, while still waiting for a “final, final” decision from Boris Johnson.
Bookmakers are about as excited as the Tories at large when it comes to the “other” potential Conservative candidates. Those whose names have only been mentioned in speculation such as businessman Michael Liebreich (25/1) are equal or better bets than Bailey (33/1), Brady (50/1), and Blond (no odds available).
Despite Boris Johnson’s claims that he’s not running for a third term, he’s currently listed as the Conservative with the best odds at 5/1, behind only Jowell and slightly ahead of Khan in the overall running. Coe is now available at 12/1, which could be a good punt if you believe party officials will be able to change his mind about standing.
If you just want to brag to your mates about the candidate you’re backing, there are some interesting possibilities. Among the “big names” on whom bookmakers are offering odds: Tony Blair, David Beckham, John O’Farrell and Danny Baker at 100/1, and Russell Brand at 200/1.
You’re also able to put your money down on other novelty propositions when it comes to London Mayor betting; you can place punts on the eventual winning party (currently Labour is 1/2, Conservatives are 2/1, LibDems are 33/1, and “any other” is 9/1), or on the nominees which each party will select (odds not currently available).
London mayors have only been directly elected since 2000, so there is not a lot of history to go on if you like to bet on trends. There have only been two elected mayors, Livingstone and Johnson – obviously, both were male, one was Conservative and one was Labour (although Livingstone was actually first elected as an Independent in 2000).
The best advice is to closely follow political news and polls as candidates emerge, parties choose who will stand for them, and the campaigning progresses. The more closely you follow the ups and downs of the race, the easier it will be to find odds you can jump on before they change. An excellent source for news is the site ukpollingreport.co.uk, and you can always find the best odds available from all major London bookmakers here on our site.
All odds quoted in this article are from Ladbrokes or Paddy Power, and are subject to change. Check our right sidebar for all the latest and best odds.