The third of three by-elections set to be called over the coming weeks comes up in Yorkshire where the Tories are looking to hold on to a majority of 20,137 after sitting MP Nigel Adams announced he was quitting parliament in solidarity with Boris Johnson. We take a look at the early odds in what we are expecting to be a very competitive market…

Selby & Ainsty By-Election Odds:

  • Conservatives – 4/6
  • Labour – 13/10
  • Lib Dems – 16/1
  • Reform UK – 33/1
  • Greens – 66/1

*odds correct as of Midday, Wednesday 14 June, 2023

It is expected to be a tough summer for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dealing with three very tricky by-elections. In Uxbridge & South Ruislip, Labour are heavy favourites to take the seat and most of the early money in Mid Bedfordshire has been on the Lib Dems to overturn the nigh on 25,000 majority but this seat sees a bit more betting intrigue.

Selby & Ainsty has only ever had a Conservative member of parliament with the seat being formed in 2010 following a redrawing of boundaries. The previous incarnation of the constituency however did return a Labour MP in all three of Tony Blair’s victories in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Therefore a strong Labour party performance coupled with a weak Conservative one can see a Red Rose win in the White Rose county.

As we all know, a by-election can have a life of its own. We’ve seen shocks throughout modern political history where massive majorities have been overturned and surprises have occurred. A Labour victory here though shouldn’t be seen as a huge shock but if they did manage to win, it would be the defeat that would sting the most of the three.

A protest vote against the Tories in an affluent area such as the Lib Dems would hurt but wouldn’t be something that would shock anyone. Losing to Labour in London when Sir Keir Starmer’s party were already getting close in Uxbridge & South Ruislip again wouldn’t be a political Earthquake. Going down to Labour here however with a 20k+ majority would cause plenty of Conservative MPs to be concerned as to their own future election prospects.

Even a lowly Tory party should hold this seat but we are already hearing senior Conservative MPs briefing that they fully expect to lose all three seats. Yes, some of that is expectation management but it is also showing everyone that these are not normal times.

I do not expect the Lib Dems or the Green Party to do much campaigning in the seat in an attempt to give Labour a relatively clear run. Plenty of tactical voting is expected here and in Uxbridge/Mid Beds. This is the best chance of a Tory hold of the three according to the odds but it feels like they just might lose them all.

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