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Boris Johnson on track for win, with majority on knife edge, odds say
[LONDON] If you listen to bookmakers, the central question in the UK general election is not whether Boris Johnson will win, but by how much.
Mr Johnson is the overwhelming favorite to remain as prime minister after the Dec 12 poll, according to bookmaker Paddy Power. At 3/1 on to lead the next government, punters would need to bet £3(S$5.26) to win one pound - effectively meaning the betting firm gives Johnson a 75 per cent chance to keep his job.
Odds also suggest he has an increasing chance of winning an overall majority in Parliament - which he has repeatedly said he needs to end the impasse over Brexit.
On Monday, Ladbrokes placed about a 60 per cent chance on a Johnson majority, even before Nigel Farage said his Brexit Party will not contest the 317 seats won by the Conservatives in 2017.
"A hung parliament was the most likely scenario according to the betting last week, but the bookies are reporting a fair move towards a Tory majority by punters over the weekend," Ladbrokes said.
Analysts and traders study bookmakers' odds to help predict the outcome of market-moving events, though their reliability was dealt a blow in the 2016 referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union. As the campaign ended, odds implied a 90 per cent chance of voters opting to remain in the bloc.
The current election odds are backed by recent opinion polls, which give the Conservatives a 12 percentage point lead over Labour on average.
The odds on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn winning are 2/1 against, effectively a 33 per cent chance, meaning gamblers would need to risk £1 to win two. His party has about a 5 per cent chance of an overall majority in the House of Commons, according to Betfair.