UK vote: Polls confirm neither Tories nor Labour can gain majority

Victory will go to leader who gets parliamentary backing for legislative programme

Ed Miliband might want to hold off measuring for curtains in No 10 Downing Street just yet as Conservative incumbent David Cameron stages a comeback in the betting market on the eve of the election.

William Hill plc, the biggest UK bookmaker, gives Labour leader Mr Miliband and Mr Cameron the same chance to be prime minister, with the odds on both at 10-11, meaning a successful £11 bet wins £10.

Last month, William Hill had Mr Miliband as favourite, as did Betfair, which now gives both even chances.

Opinion polls indicate neither Mr Cameron nor Mr Miliband will win enough seats on Thursday to govern the UK without the support of smaller parties.


Odds show the most likely next government is a Labour minority, given the Scottish National Party has offered to support Mr Miliband.

Yet the Conservatives will win the most seats and votes, odds show.

"The issue is confused by the question of who is going to have the first go at forming a government," said Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill.

“Is it the biggest party, who might be seen to have a moral right to try or is the party who has best chance of actually forming a government? We might see pistols at the dawn.”

A YouGov poll published on Tuesday found the Conservatives and Labour tied at 34 per cent.

The SNP is on course to win most seats in Scotland, polls indicate.

Victory will ultimately go to the leader who secures parliamentary backing for his legislative programme, which will be presented in the Queen’s Speech due on May 27th.

Labour minority

Against that backdrop, a Labour minority administration is favourite to be the next government at 9-4, Betfair said.

Still, Mr Miliband’s odds have lengthened since he said last week he’d rather not be prime minister than do a deal with the SNP.

The odds on a repeat of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition that’s governed since 2010 was 5-2, the shortest so far, from 19-2 three weeks ago, Betfair said.

"It may still retain a shade of value if the Lib Dems can man their usual local defences and win more seats than expected in the polls," said James Midmer, a Betfair spokesman.

One possibility is a second election this year. At William Hill, the odds on that have shortened to 3-1 from 8-1.

“It could be whoever loses will feel so bitter, they’ll try and take the other guy down,” said Mr Sharpe. “We’ve had two elections in a year before, so why not again this year.”