The odds of Ukip winning the Stoke-on-Trent by-election have been slashed on growing expectations that the party's leader, Paul Nuttall, will throw his hat into the ring.
Ukip's odds of winning the Stoke-on-Trent Central seat have been cut from 11/4 to 9/4 by betting exchange Betway, while Nuttall is now 15/8 to be Ukip's name on the ballot paper in the "Brexit heartland".
Former Labour MP Tristram Hunt announced on Friday that he was stepping down and leaving the world of politics to take on the role of director of the Victoria & Albert Museum. In the last election, Hunt took the seat with a 5,100 majority over Ukip, who were ahead of the Tories by just 33 votes.
Labour remain favourites at 4/6 to retain the traditionally left-leaning constituency, with the Lib Dems at 6/1 and Conservatives 10/1.
Ukip candidates expected for the by-election include Mick Harold (odds of 13/8), Tariq Mahmood (7/4), Nuttall and Bill Etheridge (25/1).
"A Brexit hotbed with a shrinking Labour majority arguably makes Stoke-on-Trent look like low hanging fruit to the UK Independence Party," said Betway's Alan Alger.
We’re wary of Ukip's chances, especially if leader Paul Nuttall is on the ballot paper, and we’ve cut their odds from 11/4 to 9/4.
Nuttall is currently third in the betting at 15/8 to stand for the seat, in a very tight market headed by Mick Harold at 13/8.
He made it clear in December he was mulling a bid for the constituency of Labour's Andy Burnham.