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The Labour winner by a short Ed?

Len Tingle | 18:10 UK time, Friday, 24 September 2010

Ed Miliband

The Labour leadership contest is a two horse race.

Is that something I have gleaned from tapping into the collective wisdom of assembled political analysts? Have I done my own extensive market research with party members, trade unionists and MPs?

Well no - I just went down the bookies.

William Hill had David Miliband as the favourite with odds of 1/2 when I popped into their flagship shop in Leeds.

For those of us, including me, who know absolutely nothing about betting that means if you stake £10 your winnings would be a miserly fiver (plus your stake money back).

It seemed to me that with such a little reward on offer for laying your cash on the line the bookies seem to think that the former Foreign Secretary is virtually assured of becoming the next leader.

Well, in normal circumstances that would be the case.

Unfortunately the Labour leadership contest is so close to call that little brother Ed, the MP for Doncaster North, had only marginally worse odds at 6/4.

My trip to the bookies to record a report for Look North was on Thursday lunchtime and we broadcast it at 6.30pm.

By Friday morning an e-mailed press release popped into my in-box from William Hill.

Apparently so much money had been put on Ed in the few hours since I left the shop that that they had swapped odds: David at 6/4 and Ed moving ahead to 1/2.

And where are the rest of the field?

Well, the man who was once seen as a shoe-in for Gordon Brown, Morley and Outwood MP and former Schools' Secretary Ed Balls, is trailing at 100/1. Diane Abbot and Andy Burnham have even longer odds.

If this were the Grand National then even the outsiders would have a chance.

Unfortunately for the also-rans the race for the Labour leadership does not have any nasty fences where the favourites can fall in the final furlong.

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