Eastleigh By-Election: Lib Dems Favourite To Win As Maria Hutchings And John O'Farrell Slip Behind

Lib Dems Favourites To Win Eastleigh By-Election

The Lib Dems are odds-on favourites to win the hotly anticipated Eastleigh by-election with the Tories falling further behind, according to the latest odds.

Nick Clegg's party are now 4/7 odds-on favourites with the Conservatives drifting in the betting from 1/ 2 to 7/4, according to William Hill.

Comments John O'Farrell made in 1998 have come under scrutiny

It will be welcome news for the Lib Dem candidate, Mike Thornton, but will be a further blow in an already rough weekend for his rivals.

Tory candidate, Maria Hutchings, came under fire on Saturday for suggesting the public school system would not be adeqaute for her son who has aspirations to become a surgeon.

She said: "William is very gifted which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him - impossible in the state system.

"He wants to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon."

Meanwhile, comments by Labour candidate, John O'Farrell, made in a book in 1998 have come back to haunt him.

In a book called 'Things Can Only Get Better', O'Farrell wrote: "in October, 1984, when the Brighton bomb went off, I felt a surge of excitement at the nearness of Margaret Thatcher's demise.

"And yet disappointment that such a chance had been missed."

The Brighton IRA bomb targeted the Conservative Party conference at the Grand Hotel and killed five people.

Former Conservative chairman, Lord Tebbit, and his wife were injured in the blast. He voiced his anger at the comments to the Daily Mail on Saturday.

He said: "Ed Miliband should repudiate this incontinently voiced moral reprobate who tries to excuse murder as a weapon against those who won democratic elections time after time against the rag-bag remnants of a once great Labour Party,"

William Hills make Labour 12/1 with UKIP at 25/1 and National Health Action 66/1.

The company's spokesman, Graeme Sharpe said: "Despite being perceived as unlikely to retain the seat when the by-election was announced, the Lib Dems have been the best backed Party and if the odds are to be believed are heading for a morale-boosting win which will strike a blow to the Tories hopes of a majority win at the next General Election."

The by-election was sparked by the shock resignation of Chris Huhne when he pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice earlier this month.

The other candidates running are:

COLIN BEX - Wessex regionalists

DAVID BISHOP - Elvis Loves Pets Party

JIM DUGGAN - Peace Party

RAY HALL - Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party

HOWLING LAUD HOPE - Monster Raving Loony William Hill Party

DIANE JAMES - UK Independence Party

DR IAIN MACLENNAN - National Health Action Party

KEVIN MILBURN - Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship"

DARREN PROCTER - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

DANNY STUPPLE - Independent

MICHAEL WALTERS - The English Democrats - "Putting England First!"


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