A canny gambler in Yorkshire will rake in £10,000 off a £1 bet placed six years ago, if former army officer Dan Jarvis becomes the leader of the Labour Party. That is not beyond the realms of possibility: the Barnsley Central MP recently saw his odds of succeeding Ed Miliband slashed to just 7-1 with some bookies.
It is understood that a family friend laid the bet with Ladbrokes in 2009, two years before Mr Jarvis became an MP in a by-election. The punter has already won £10,000 from a separate £250 bet that Mr Jarvis would one day become an MP.
Ladbrokes head of political betting Matthew Shaddick said that due diligence carried out by his firm at the time of the bet only found that Mr Jarvis was in the military and was a member of the Labour Party. In 2011, Mr Jarvis became the first officer since the Second World War to resign his commission to contest a seat. He is now a shadow justice minister.
Mr Shaddick said he is “resigned” to losing another £10,000, as the gambler also bet that Mr Jarvis would one day reach the cabinet or shadow cabinet, a development that appears to be a formality. Fortunately for Ladbrokes, the betting agency capped the 10,000-1 leadership stake at a pound.
The career of 42-year-old Mr Jarvis is in the ascendency. He was Labour’s lead on the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1 in 2014. Having seen active service in Afghanistan and Iraq, he was well equipped to stare down a bottle-weilding man who rather foolishly tried to mug him recently.
Bookies have Mr Jarvis as third or fourth favourite to be Labour’s next permanent leader. The smart money is on Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper.