UK Politics: Bettors back May after Johnson's "crazy" Brexit criticism

Boris Johnson playing cricket in India
Has Boris Johnson smashed open cabinet division on Brexit?
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After a quiet few weeks for Brexit, the biggest challenge facing the British government is well and truly back, with Boris Johnson labelling the PM's customs plans "crazy" and Jacob Rees-Mogg attacking the House of Lords. It's a mad world, as Max Liu reports...

"Johnson is [11.0] to be next Tory leader, and his ego burns as brightly as ever, but his "crazy" comment is significant. It indicates a real and public split in the cabinet that could, at the very least, delay Brexit."

At the end of a week when cabinet divisions over Brexit bubbled to the surface again, Britain is [1.7] to leave the EU by 29 March next year. Bettors also make it [1.25] that Brexit will happen before there's another general election.

It's a shame that UK politics in 2018 is dominated by Brexit, as there are many other matters that the government should address: the NHS, our dysfunctional criminal justice system and the housing crisis, to name only a few. But to make a football analogy: these days, Brexit is the league and anything else is an FA Cup round of ties or an international break - i.e. a mere distraction from a the real business.

Last week's local election results kept Brexit off the agenda for a few days, but normal service was resumed this week as MPs, and Lords, got right back into Brexit.

May makes promises after Johnson's "crazy" criticism

A busy few days for Brexit, inevitably means Boris Johnson is in the news. This week, Johnson branded as "crazy" Theresa May's plans for a customs arrangement with the EU. Betfair have a market on the Foreign Secretary's cabinet exit date but, as May has refused to sack him for this kind of outburst several times already, betting on this matter appears to be waste of time.

Johnson is [11.0] to be next Tory leader, and his ego burns as brightly as ever, but his "crazy" comment is significant. It indicates a real and public split in the cabinet that could, at the very least, delay Brexit.

May hits back, writing in today's Sunday Times: "You can trust me to deliver. I will not let you down." She goes on to say that some compromises with the EU will be necessarily but pledges that Britain will "take back control of our money" and says money will be available for "domestic priorities, including our National Health Service."

Bettors make May [1.54] to be the PM who delivers Brexit. But Johnson's "crazy" outburst raises the question: if May can't get her cabinet to agree on a Brexit deal, how will she get it through Parliament?

Lords want to stop Brexit, says Rees-Mogg

This week, the House of Lords became the latest British institution - along with the High Court, the BBC and the City of London - to be accused of sabotaging Brexit. After the Lords inflicted another defeat on the government over Brexit, the Mail's front page stated: "It's time to pull the plug on the Lords."

This is a turnaround for a paper that's traditionally argued against attempts to overhaul Britain's second chamber. But the Mail are not alone. In 2012, when David Cameron's government tried to reform the Lords, David Davis, who's now the Brexit Secretary, called the Lords a "unique check on excessive power."

Jacob Rees Mogg, who's [5.6] favourite to be next Tory leader, is another who has previously opposed Lords reform but now has harsh words for the institution, claiming: "Their whole aim is to stop Brexit."

Such hypocrisy reminds us that MPs love the Lords when its members do as they wish, but aren't so keen when it stands in the way of what they consider to be key legislation. It also reminds us what the Lords in for and shows that it's doing its job.

Resignation triggers by-election in Lewisham East

Labour's Heidi Alexander has resigned as an MP, triggering a by-election in Lewisham East. Alexander was a member of Jeremy Corbyn's first shadow cabinet but, like several other self-seeking Labour MPs who thought the game was up for Corbyn, resigned in 2016.

Alexander is off to work with Sadiq Khan as London's deputy mayor. There's no market available yet on the by-election, as the date hasn't been announced, but it shouldn't make for a major betting event, as Lewisham East is a safe Labour seat which Alexander held by 21,000 last June.

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