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Tory hopefuls will pocket £500,000 if they become PM

Two Conservative candidates will win £500,000 each if they make it to be Prime Minister after they backed themselves for the top job while they were students, it emerged today.

Chris Kelly, who is standing for Dudley South, and Justin Tomlinson, for North Swindon, bet on themselves becoming Prime Minister when they were at Oxford Brookes University together 12 years ago.

Each stands to collect £500,000 from bookmakers William Hill should they achieve that ambition.

Mr Tomlinson placed two £50 bets with William Hill, at odds of 10,000/1, that each of them would go on to become Prime Minister within 40 years when he was 21 and Mr Kelly was 20.

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharp said today: "Justin and Chris could each win £500,000 if they manage to achieve the highest office in the land by the year 2038.

"It is quite remarkable that they are both standing for election at this General Election - and we make both of them 1/6 favourites to win in their respective constituencies.

"If they both win we'll keep a very close eye on their progress through the ranks from the back to the front bench."

Mr Kelly, now in his early thirties and who joined the family transport firm Keltruck after graduation, was reluctant to discuss the bet today.

He said: "It's not something I want to comment on and neither does Justin.

"We are really busy with our campaign and it's the middle of the General Election."

According to Conservatives.com, Wolverhampton-born Mr Kelly's interest in politics dates back to the age of 14 when he wrote a letter to his local paper. In it he questioned the increase in the price of entry to the council baths.

Meanwhile, 10-year-old William Eric Jones, of Plymouth, Devon, will win £250,000 for family friend Carleton Mayer if he grows up to take the top job.

Mr Mayer placed a bet on the boy growing up to become PM in December 1999.