I’d need better odds than that
William Hill have put up a new market on whether UKIP, now riding high, will win a parliamentary by-election this parliament,
With the election scheduled for May 2015 the by-election would have to occur within the next two years and five months and after the latest crop there are none in the offing.
The bet breaks down into two elements – the chances of a suitable by-election coming up and the chances of UKIP winning.
Since the general election there’ve been thirteen by-elections one of them in Northern Ireland. The other twelve have seen victories for Labour in eleven and Respect in Bradford West. Labour and the Conservatives have lost one seat each. The Lib Dems general election seat base remains intact.
The best prospect of UKIP to win a by-election is if a vacancy came in a seat currently held by one of the coalition partners. Ideally it would be one where Labour was in a poor third in 2010.
Since the 2001 general election there’s been just one by-election caused by the death of a Conservative MP (Eric Forth in Bromley) and one by the demise of a Lib Dem (Patsy Calton in Cheadle). Of course, vacancies can occur for other reasons like the actions of the courts, where the incumbent wants to be a PCC or an elected mayor or where the sitting MP wants to do another Louise Mensch.
Even if a suitable by-election came up UKIP would have to operate a ground game in a manner that so far they’ve not been able to demonstrate.
So what are the chances? I’d make it a 15/1 shot at least.
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