Tories put their eggs in Copeland basket, leaving UKIP to take Stoke

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The Conservatives are now just 4/7 to take next month’s Copeland by-election, while it’s believed the party are all but handing UKIP a free run at landing Stoke-On-Central.

Labour’s Copeland MP Jamie Reed, and Stoke representative Tristram Hunt formally resigned their seats on Monday, after announcing their intentions to quit weeks ago.

It’s potentially a major double blow for leader Jeremy Corbyn, who stands to lose two seats formerly regarded as Labour strongholds when the polls open on February 23.

Labour have gradually been losing their hold on Copeland however, and they took 42 per cent of the votes in the 2015 General Election, compared to 58 per cent back in 1997.

The Tories were just 5,000 votes behind 18 months ago, and Corbyn’s views on Nuclear Power – a vital source of employment in the Copeland constituency – has done major damage to Labour’s hopes of retaining a seat they’ve held since 1981.

Nuclear power is set to be the key issue for the Tories, while Labour’s hopes of retaining the seat hinder on how much damage the NHS crisis has done to the current government.

Over in Stoke

And the news that UKIP leader Paul Nuttall will run for Stoke-On-Central, has reportedly forced the Tories into swerving a major run in Staffordshire.

After Hunt announced his resignation, UKIP opened in the betting at 5/2, but have now been pushed into 11/10, just behind Labour at 4/5.

And our latest odds reflect the Tories disinterest in Stoke, with their odds drifting from 6s to 33s.

It’s 5/4 that UKIP land between 30-40 per cent of Stoke’s vote, having enjoyed a dramatic rise in the constituency.

Claiming just 4.3 per cent of the vote in 2010, the party’s numbers shot up by 2015, where they finished second with 22 per cent.

Double chance

And with two by-elections taking place on the same day, our political traders have priced up some double markets.

Labour are 5/2 to keep hold of both seats, in what would be a massive shot in the arm for the party and Corbyn.

But it will be of concern that the bookies make it just 5/4 the beleaguered party lose both votes.

UKIP are 14/1 to win both, while the Tories are 50/1 to land a surprise double-header.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the day of publishing

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