When last updating the Brexit situation and betting in September, British politics was paralysed over a process that has lasted more than three years. Guess what? It still is, although the endgame is now in sight.
The most immediate, perilous problem – a chaotic exit from the European Union on October 31st, without a deal – has been averted. Despite promising not to ask the EU for an extension and saying he would die in a ditch rather than fail to leave on time, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ultimately bowed to parliament’s demand that he do so. The new leaving date is January 31st – Jan-Jun 2020 is now trading at just $1.75 in Betfair’s Brexit Date market.
The UK now has four months to decide the terms of its departure. Johnson defied critics by securing a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and getting it through the first stage of its parliamentary reading.
However, fearing it would be amended by opposition MPs who are either against Brexit altogether or their particular version – perhaps to attach a confirmatory referendum that could scupper it – the government withdrew the bill.
Instead of facing that showdown, Johnson pursued a general election and today he got his wish, with the date set for December 12th.
The PM certainly has momentum. He has a deal – thus at least temporarily neutering accusations that he actively wanted a ‘No Deal Brexit’ – and his Conservative Party are well ahead of a divided opposition in the polls. They are rated overwhelmingly favourites at $1.17 to win the Most Seats.
Job done, then? Far from it. Unless they win an overall majority of seats in parliament – something the Tories have only managed once since 1992 – he will not gain control of the process. A Conservative Majority is rated around 50% at $1.96 and that feels about right. Lets, therefore, consider what happens next if they get the majority, or just fall short.