Politics General Election By Graham Sharpe

Budget Boosts Tories, Say Bookies

GEORGE OSBORNE's Budget speech may not prove to be a vote winner for the Conservatives, but it certainly proved a winner with political punters, as bookmakers William Hill reported that 90% of the bets they took during, and since the speech, on the outcome of the General Election were for the Tories to be the largest single Party; to form a minority government or to form a majority government.

'During Mr Osborne's speech we started to see a stream of bets for a Conservative Election win in all three possible guises - to be the largest Party (4/9), and to form either a minority (7/2 from 9/2) or majority (9/2 from 5/1) government. The trend continued on Thursday, with 90% of bets placed on the Election outcome being for a Tory triumph' said Hill's spokesman Graham Sharpe.

WILLIAM HILL...TO DELIVER NEXT BUDGET:...11/8 Ed Balls; 7/4 George Osborne; 6/1 Philip Hammond; 7/1 Chuka Umunna; 14/1 Rachel Reeves; 16/1 Sajid Javid; 20/1 Danny Alexander; Theresa May; 33/1 Boris Johnson. Others on request.

**Mr Alexander is 7/2 to be re-elected to his Inverness constituency.

WILLIAM HILL ODDS: GENERAL ELECTION OUTCOME...1/5 Hung Parliament; 5/2 Labour minority; 7/2 Conservative minority; 9/2 Conservative majority; 5/1 Con-LD Coalition; 7/1 Coalition involving SNP; 8/1 Coalition involving Ukip; 8/1 Lab-Lib Dem coalition; 16/1 Lab majority; 33/1 Coalition involving Greens; 33/1 Con-Lab coalition; 100/1 Ukip majority; 500/1 Lib Dem majority; 25/1 any other outcome.

LARGEST SINGLE PARTY: 4/9 Cons; 7/4 Lab; 50/1 Ukip; 400/1 LDs