Published: 15:24, 06 September 2017
The odds on the Kent politician vying to become the next leader of UKIP have shortened dramatically, according to bookmakers.
Former soldier Henry Bolton, who was the party’s candidate in the crime commissioner election in 2016, has enjoyed a surge in support in recent weeks and has been endorsed by four UKIP MEPs.
And in another significant development, former leader Nigel Farage, who stood in South Thanet at the general election in 2015, has acted as his referee in the leadership battle.
While that is not an outright endorsement, his campaign team say that as referee he was “vouching for his [Mr Bolton] political acumen, good character and ability to lead the party to success.”
Mr Bolton and other candidates are due to take part in a hustings meeting tonight at Gillingham golf club.
Thomas Matthews of Oddschecker said: “Several bookmakers have recently cut their odds on Henry Bolton to become the next UKIP leader.
"Bolton was once as far out as a 14/1 long shot, but has come in to 8/1 in the past 24 hours, and has had the third most bets placed on him since the start of the month.”
He added that Mr Bolton had accounted for 20% of all bets placed on the market since September 1.
“Bolton’s surge may be attributed to a number of politicians voicing their support for him over recent weeks.”
“Bolton’s surge may be attributed to a number of politicians voicing their support for him over recent weeks" - Thomas Matthews of Oddschecker
The odds on Mr Bolton would appear to indicate that he is closing the gap on the two candidates who are considered favourites for the job - Peter Whittle and Anne Marie Waters.
Commenting on the endorsements he had received, Mr Bolton said: “This election marks a critical moment in the party’s history. It will determine whether or not the party has a credible future in British politics.”
The leadership contest follows the resignation of Paul Nuttall, who stood down from the role after the party’s poor performance in the general election.
The result will be announced on September 29.