Over the last few extraordinary weeks, the chances about the following have risen. A ‘hard’, no deal Brexit. An extension of Article 50 beyond next March. A new Tory leader and PM. A constitutional crisis, resulting in a ‘Peoples Vote’ or another general election. Another Scottish independence referendum. Even a realignment of the UK party system.
Confused? Don’t worry, you’re in good company. The government evidently don’t know what comes next and nor, apparently, does anybody in politics or business. None of Betfair’s wide array of markets related to this unprecedented situation offer clear, confident signals.
Hard Brexit likelier as Chequers charade unravels
One thing that has become clear is the implausibility of Theresa May’s stated plan. The Chequers deal was always an internal Tory party compromise, unlikely to survive parliamentary scrutiny, let alone be accepted by the EU. It has already failed the first test, undone by several Brexiter amendments and splitting the party, perhaps irrevocably.
On the basis of those amendments and rhetoric from new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, the ongoing EU negotiations appear doomed. By threatening to withhold the £39BN ‘divorce settlement’. Raab may have just placed a bomb under the whole process. The EU regard that payment as a totally different matter to any future deal – a legal obligation – that had already been settled, as a precuser to the current talks.
Similarly as this comprehensive RTE piece explains, the UK government are nowhere near squaring the circles required to enable a hard border with Ireland. Few expect any of this to be resolved during the summer recess, in time for the critical EU summit in October. Instead, politicians will be positioning for conference season and the aftermath.
Everything could kick off in October
The key date is October 18th, when a deal is supposed to be finalised. May will either return with less than a replica of the deeply unpopular Chequers plan or negotiations might fail. Even if a deal does emerge, it may well not be ratified by the European Parliament in time for the March 29th deadline.
May is adamant that she won’t request an extension to Article 50, but many observers say the timetable may leave little choice and bettors are not taking her word for it. The UK withdrawing on 29/03/19 deadline can be backed at [1.75].