Was there insider trading on Brown’s election U-turn?

December 28th, 2007

    Who were those who cashed in on the afternoon of October 6th?

brown marr.JPGWhile going through some of the old threads during the key moments of 2007 I came across the following discussion, reproduced below, which got by-passed by the dramatic news of Gordon’s general election U-turn on the afternoon of October 6.

For it suggests that a gambler or a group of gamblers who had inside information about the Prime Minister’s decision sought to turn what they knew into cash by betting on the timing of the general election before the decision was made public.

The thread shows that during the 45 minutes before the news was made known there was heavy betting resulting in a sharp easing of the price that nothing would be happening this year.

This is an edited version of the discussion thread on the site which took place as England were beating Australia in the key Rugby World Cup match in France. The betting being referred to is Betfair’s election date market

• “Hmm – 2007 GE last matched at 1.36-1, having been odds-on earlier today. Could there possibly be some seepage of info from the pollsters or wherever?” – by Peter from Putney October 6th, 2007 at 2:59 pm

• “Wow!!! Now out to 1.86-1, something must have been said or whispered!” – by Peter from Putney October 6th, 2007 at 3:08 pm

• “2007 is 8/5 now on Betfair. Something has spooked the market. Is it just us, nattering away? Surely not. Looks like a poll has been leaked, or someone has caught a rumour.” – by seanT October 6th, 2007 at 3:17 pm

• “1.86-1, i.e. approx 15/8 in old money were the then odds on Betfair of a 2007 GE. These odds have since narrowed a little, but it’s a very active market at present.” by Peter from Putney October 6th, 2007 at 3:17 pm

• “Somebody is laying 2007 pretty hard now” by Jon October 6th, 2007 at 3:18 pm

• “Conservative Home may be responsible for the change in Betfair odds. They don’t provide any evidence or source for the rumours of worse polls for Labour. What they do say is that GB is pre-recording an interview with Andrew Marr for tomorrow and speculating that he will rule out a GE.” by Blue Moon October 6th, 2007 at 3:26 pm

• “God this is all too much. Election at evens. England leading Australia by 2 points with fifteen to play. Might have to take some d1azepam.” by seanT October 6th, 2007 at 3:29 pm

• “There won’t be an election Sean. Watch the rugby.” by tim October 6th, 2007 at 3:30 pm

• “Certainly the odds on 2007 are STILL widening. But I don’t see why Brown calling an interview means they’ve cancelled the vote. He might be about to tell us he is going for it. How can they know?” by seanT October 6th, 2007 at 3:37 pm

• “I presume it’s because he needs to see the queen before announcing an election, so wouldn’t do an interview saying what and see.” by Woody662 October 6th, 2007 at 3:38 pm

• “Wow – England have beaten Australia. Election on lol!!!!!! “ by The Reverend Doctor October 6th, 2007 at 3:39 pm

• “Well done England. Excellent performance” by Jack W October 6th, 2007 at 3:40 pm

• “Gordon’s never been very big on traditions – maybe he’s already texted the Queen… “ by Edmund in Tokyo October 6th, 2007 at 3:42 pm

• “Jan-Jun 2009 coming in quite fast as well.” by alex October 6th, 2007 at 3:43 pm

• “Nick Robinson on News 24 – No early election” by Gary Barford October 6th, 2007 at 3:45 pm

• “BBC has the story, its off.” by James Burdett October 6th, 2007 at 3:46 pm

• “SKY BREAKING NEWS The Election is off “ by The Reverend Doctor October 6th, 2007 at 3:46 pm

• “Scots in the final then Jack? Incidentally if the rumour is true, it’s going to be a very interesting interview. Will Gordon prompt laughs and incredulity by claiming the election was never on in the first place?” by alex October 6th, 2007 at 3:48 pm

• “I’m very very relieved … why give the Tories a chance when there’s no need? It was pointless. “ by The Reverend Doctor October 6th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

• “I suspect that GB had a whiff of bad polls and wanted to get out the story before the polls are published this evening to try to delink the decision from the polls. I don’t think it will work somehow!” by Blue Moon October 6th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

• ” England beat the favourites and the election is off! I think this may be the best day of my entire life. I am off to get utterly pissed”
by MBoy October 6th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

• “Nick Robinson could have made a mistake (not totally impossible)… if Nick Robinson is correct then my prediction is March 2008.” by Matthew JCG Partridge October 6th, 2007 at 4:29 pm

One of the risks of political betting is that at times you can be gambling against those who are “in the know”. There’s nothing illegal about it but if price movements on the scale recorded on that afternoon had happened on the stock market ahead of a big announcement then an inquiry would have surely followed.

Mike Smithson

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