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Friday, 4 May, 2001, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Bookies say Blair is election certainty
Launch of Ladbrokes's election betting
Under starter's orders: A one-horse election?
Tony Blair has been made the shortest odds-on favourite in UK political history to win the forthcoming general election.

Ladbrokes is quoting odds of just 1/40 on a Labour victory.

The Conservatives, in contrast, are ranked as outsiders at 10/1 to win the expected poll on 7 June.

The bookies are predicting a betting bonanza, with most people gambling on the size of the winner's parliamentary majority.

Ladbrokes¿s betting board
Thousands expected to have a flutter
The odds for Labour make the party the the most widely tipped favourite at the beginning of an election campaign in modern political history.

The price for the Tories is the biggest offered on the party at the start of any recent election campaign, while the Liberal Democrats are 200/1 outsiders.

Place your bets

Ladbrokes's is offering 100/1 to anyone who thinks Labour can maintain its current Commons majority of 179 seats.

Labour's performance in Scotland and Wales and the official voter turnout will also be part of the guessing game.

Ladbrokes said it expected up to £5 million to be staked on the outcome of the poll across the betting industry.

Election betting spokesman Sean Boyce said: "With Blair the biggest certainty in modern political history we are having to offer a wide range of bets as the campaign develops, including likely next party leaders, the size of majorities in Scotland and Wales and even betting on the size of the turnout.

Sean Boyce, Ladbrokes
Boyce expects £5m in bets
Mr Boyce said many people with little interest in politics or the election are expected to bet on the poll.

"A little flutter can make it more interesting for people who may not be interested otherwise," he said.

The bookmaker is also considering taking bets on the outcome in certain constituencies, including Hartlepool where former minister Peter Mandelson will defend his seat.

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See also:

29 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Tories defend betting tax proposal
10 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Brown set to axe betting tax
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