After Bercow intervention, is Brexit heading for the long grass?

This article was written on March 19th 2019, for

The most unpredictable process in political history just took another remarkable turn. 11 days before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, the Speaker of the House of Commons has sparked a constitutional crisis by blowing up the government’s strategy. Literally nobody is sure what comes next.

Brexit in limbo as Bercow skewers May’s strategy

Originally, this piece was to be based around the idea that the next few days would finally produce a Brexit endgame. The third Meaningful Vote was set to provide, or set the stage for, a day of reckoning. Then John Bercow intervened, ruling that the government cannot keep bringing back the same bill in hope it eventually passes, without changing it.

The upshot so far as betting signals are concerned is that Brexit is likelier than ever to be delayed, and that delay is getting longer. Leaving on 29/03/19 is now merely a 14% chance at odds of 7.0. ‘Yes’ to Will Article 50 Be Extended? correlates on the other side at 1.15 (87%).

Long A50 extension now likelier than ever

Parliament may well produce some more drama today as the government try to fight back but the main focus is now on Thursday’s EU summit and that extension. There is much talk of Theresa May requesting a two-option extension – a short one until the end of June, if her vote passes next time around, or a longer one if not.

Although nothing is certain by any means, there seems to be a consensus that the EU will offer some sort of extension and that, if for whatever reason they didn’t, parliament would do whatever it takes to stop no deal. That is about the only clear message emerging though and were the EU to accept a two-stage extension, it would likely involve conditions.

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