Bookies back Eastwood for SDLP leadership
IRELAND'S largest bookmaker has Colum Eastwood as a strong favourite to be the next leader of the SDLP.
Alasdair McDonnell's bid to remain leader has suffered a major psychological blow with Paddy Power pricing his rival Mr Eastwood as odds-on favourite.
The 32-year-old Foyle MLA is 1-4 favourite to become the sixth leader of the party.
Mr Eastwood has received the backing of party grandees, including one-time Stormont Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon.
Earlier this week, Dr McDonnell said he was confident of victory on November 14.
"I won the leadership by a handful of votes and I will win it again by a bigger handful of votes," he said.
But the bookies disagree, with Paddy Power making the 66-year-old former GP the 5/2 outsider.
A Paddy Power spokesman said it felt there had been a number of incidents which had "highlighted an increasing lack of support for McDonnell".
"We get the impression that his time is drawing to a close and it’s hard to bounce back from that in politics – not impossible, but it makes it harder for him to hang on," he said.