By Matt Ince
Bookmakers have installed the Green Party as favourites to win in the South East constituency of Brighton Pavilion.
Paddy Power - Ireland's largest bookmaker - recently placed the odds at 4-7 in favour of Green Party candidate Caroline Lucas MEP winning the Brighton seat, establishing her as a clear favourite ahead of Labour candidate Nancy Platts at 5-1 and her Conservative counterpart Charlotte Vere at 2-1 in a constituency that has traditionally been a Labour stronghold.
Darren Haines, UK PR Manager at Paddy Power, said: "Although constituency voting applies to all seats this one has been specifically targeted by the Greens. Given its popularity there is more of a high profile market than in other constituencies."
Over the next few weeks, both Labour and Conservative supporters will be campaigning to prevent Lucas from winning the Green Party their first parliamentary seat in the House of Commons - one that has been held by retiring Labour MP David Lepper since 1997.
However, Ms Platts appeared unfazed by the bookies predictions at her campaign launch party at Brighton's exclusive My Hotel Bar this week and remained adamant that Labour will still be a force to be reckoned with.
She said: "We could easily outnumber the Greens and we are not having to bring van loads of people down from London in order to get our vote."
But despite her confident predictions the fact remains that Lucas has become somewhat of a celebrity within British politics in recent years.
Promising to get a fairer deal for young people and to bring over 4000 jobs to Brighton & Hove, Lucas said: "I think we stand on the brink of a massive opportunity. There are so many people who joined the Labour Party genuinely believing it was going to be a party of progressive values and they've been betrayed."
She continues to capture the support of voters across the city's three parliamentary constituencies, where the Greens won a 31% majority in the 2009 European elections and 30% of the vote for Brighton Pavilion at the local council elections in May 2007.