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Is there anything left in this race for Ken Clarke?

October 12th, 2005

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We are not sure whether the person behind the Clarke tea-shirts is backing the ex-Chancellor or whether the plan is to block his leadership bid. Whatever Ken Clarke is having something of a roller coaster experience as he tries, at what surely must be his final attempt, to become leader of his party.

For a long period his USP had been that the polls showed that he was the only contender with any chance of making significant progress at the next General Election. However much many in the party dislike his position on the EU a lot were prepared to give him their backing because he looked a winner.

That has all changed following the dramatic emergence of David Cameron in Blackpool. He now is tops when it comes to Tory voters and although Ken is more popular with the public at large Cameron is making real progress amongst Tory supporters. There’s also the real danger that in the first round of voting next Tuesday Ken might end up in fourth place and so be out of the contest. The news tonight that Liam Fox looks set to get the supports of 15 MPs following discussions with the Cornerstone group will only add to the pressure on the ex-Chancellor.

The result of all this change is best represented by this chart – showing the implied probability of a Clarke victory based on best betting prices

MY PERSONAL BETTING. I’ve just closed my Clarke position on IG’sBinary Bet market. I had bought at 26 and have just sold at 8 – OUCH. That means I lose 18 times my stake level. My only consolation is that I bought David Cameron at 9 and could get out now at a very big profit.

Mike Smithson






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