Bookmaker pays out on Tory victory

Paddy Power will be crossing fingers and hoping that Labour doesn’t “do a Man United”.

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I'm just a little bit ashamed to say that I like bookmakers such as Paddy Power, because they go in for detailed political and current affairs bets that have in the past enabled me to bet about the Pope, on Barack Obama becoming president when it looked like Hillary Clinton was certain to gain the Democratic nomination, and on Labour retaining office amid the height of the anti-Brown frenzy.

However, on the latter at least, according to them, I have already lost, because, extraordinarily, Paddy Power has added to the supposed "unstoppable momentum" and already started paying out on a Tory victory.

From the bookie's own press release:

- Paddy Power Pay Out Cameron and Tory Victory -

The UK general election is over before a vote has been cast according to Paddy Power who are so sure that David Cameron's Conservatives are home and dry that they are paying out on all bets on Cameron to be PM and the Conservatives to win the most seats.

The cheeky bookie launched their early payout in the early hours of Tuesday morning by illuminating one side of the Houses of Parliament with a picture of David Cameron and the words "WE'RE PAYING OUT"

Cameron's strong performance in the final TV debate on Thursday saw a relentless tide of betting support for the Conservatives in the outright market, shortening the odds on the Tories winning most seats at the Election from 1/5 a week ago to just 1/16. Punters will be collecting over £100,000 from the leading bookmaker.

Paddy Power himself said "Dave is heading for Downing Street and punters can come and collect their cash.

"If money talks then what we have seen in the last few days tells us the Conservatives are going to win the Election.

"The only question remaining is whether they secure enough seats for the all-important majority -- and the betting is starting to suggest they can."

Well, I have already been asking what will happen if the many pundits who over the years have declared the Tories the clear winner are wrong. I've asked what would happen to the Tory party itself if it loses. Now, I wonder what will happen if the bookmaker is wrong.

After all, Paddy Power did a similar stunt by paid out early on Arsenal winning the Premier League in 2003, only to see Man United clinch it at the last.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.