On Friday morning the country will likely wake up with two UKIP MPs in total. By May next year, more will almost certainly follow have followed.
Mark Reckless’ win this week is practically guaranteed.
Polls for the by-election predict a UKIP win on Thursday. William Hill give the odds 1/33 on Mark Reckless joining Douglas Carswell in the House of Commons. A Conservative win has odds of 10/1, whilst Labour’s are 100/1, compared to the Liberal Democrats on 250/1.
UKIP will likely have two MPs by the end of the week, but the real question is how many more will they have by the end of this parliament? A UKIP win this week will likely see more defections; it will give hope to swaying Tory, and perhaps Labour, MPs, that jumping off their broken boats to Nigel Farage’s purple, new, shiney ship, gives them the best chance. Both in terms of instinctive political survival, and also noticing that the tide is turning in UKIP’s favour in a lot of the country.
William Hill also has decent odds on there being more defections by the time of the next general election. Betters are given evens if two or more defect, 6/4 for none and 7/1 for one.
According to William Hill media, the company cut its odds for ‘two or more’ from 6/4 to Evens. Such a move is a sign of the recognition that UKIP’s chances of picking up more defectors by next May are increasing.
There will of course be some major issues to be thought about by these MPs thinking about jumping ship. A defection will now lead to a by-election - that is the standard set by Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless. They could of course jump ship without a by-election, but the media and the political parties would make sure that such a move is declared political suicide.
A by-election will not necessarily get them a win, but if Reckless wins on Thursday that could persuade a few more Tory MPs to be swayed.
If more Conservatives defect, the Prime Minister and his party will shudder in their shoes. Labour will sit back and watch the Tories wrestle with UKIP, but Nigel Farage's party will snap at their heels too.
Whatever your views on UKIP, no one can deny that this is an exciting time in politics. The era of of multi-party politics is shaking up Britain. And UKIP are leading the earthquake.
*All odds referenced are from the 18th November.