Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour race can already be considered a “done deal” almost a month before the winner is announced – at least according to a bookmaker who has started paying out on bets.
Describing the MP for Islington North’s success in the campaign as the “biggest upset in political betting history”, Paddy Power is so certain that Corbyn will win that it is paying out £100,000, even though polling closes on 10 September.
Corbyn’s changing odds with the bookmakers reflect the unprecedented growth in his popularity over the summer, as he started the race with 100/1, but is now ranked at 2/9, after attracting 80 per cent of bets in the last two weeks.
A spokesman for the bookmaker told the Press Association: “In our eyes it is a done deal.
The payments came as Corbyn warned senior party figures not to underestimate the "huge levels of public support" his campaign has received.
Addressing supporters in central London, Corbyn rejected claims from his rival Andy Burnham that he did not want to become Prime Minster, and said his policies would win back voters who have turned to the Conservatives and Ukip.
“Why would I be here, why would our campaign be here, if we didn't want to win this campaign, in order to make the Labour Party a more effective campaigning organisation, in order that we can win the 2020 election?
"I heard Andy's comments. I didn't spill my coffee at the time. I smiled," he said.
Meanwhile, his main rivals Burnham and Yvette Cooper, grappled over who is best placed to stop Corbyn’s ascent to leadership, with both camps demanding the other clear the way.
The left-winger went on to mock apparent plots for other candidates to withdraw in order to consolidate support against him.
"I do not think anyone should pull out. They have been nominated, they are valid candidates. We have some more hustings coming up, we will continue the debate.
“If others want to debate arcane procedures that's up to them," he said.
Additional reporting by PA
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies