UK Politics: Government set for frantic autumn of Brexit negotiations

The UK and EU are trying to make a Brexit deal
The UK and EU begin Brexit negotiations again this week
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The big drama was on the other side of the Atlantic this week but, with Brexit negotiations about to enter a new and vital stage, there's plenty happening in the UK, says Max Liu.

"Calls for a referendum on the final Brexit deal grow louder by the week and a second vote by 2020 has been backed into [3.2] on the Exchange."

The deadline for the UK to strike a Brexit deal with the European Union is likely to be pushed back, according to reports this weekend. The two sides are supposed to reach agreement by October, with the UK set to officially leave the EU at the end of March next year. That would leave time for the UK parliament to approve the deal.

This week, though, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said October is no longer an absolute deadline. He added that talks must be wrapped up "not later than the beginning of November".

The cabinet minister, David Lidington, who is Theresa May's deputy in all but name followed up, saying: "If it slips beyond October into November, I think that is manageable".

Bettors still back Brexit in March 2019

The UK is [1.7] to leave the EU by the 2019 deadline, but do this week's comments from both sides - make that more unlikely? There has already been speculation that Article 50, which was triggered by May in March 2017, could be extended to give Britain time to get a better Brexit deal from the EU, although politicians continue to rule it out.

May said during the summer that she needed a deal by October, to get it through parliament in time for a March Brexit. The Sportsbook market reflects how evenly balanced the situation is, with a no deal Brexit 11/10 (a 47% chance).

If the UK and EU do reach a deal, Barnier believes it will take eight weeks to get it through the European Parliament. However, the documents must be translated into the EU's 24 languages and heavily scrutinised by lawyers.

One thing is for sure as we reach the end of summer - it's going to be a frantic autumn for the UK government. New Brexit secretary Dominic Raab heads to Brussels this week as negotiations begin again with Barnier and his team.

With every week that passes with no deal, the odds on Article 50 being extended will narrow from their current [2.34].

Labour not ruling out second referendum

As mentioned several times already here, there are growing calls for a referendum on the final Brexit deal and the momentum is not letting up, with a second vote by 2020 backed into [3.2] on the Exchange.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said this week that a second referendum should be "kept on the table". This appeared to be backed up by shadow chancellor John McDonnell who said the party could call for a second referendum if the Brexit deadlock continues this autumn.

McDonnell did, however, also backed claims by one of his colleagues, shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner, that anything seen as an attempt to undo the result of the EU referendum could embolden the far right and cause social disruption.

Gardiner's comments, set against those of Starmer, reflect Labour's equivocal position on a second referendum.

Will Australia's new PM call a snap election?

Australia got a new Prime Minister this week as Scott Morrison replaced Malcom Turnbull. The new PM was sworn in on Friday, after government lawmakers chose him for the top job, saying they'd lost faith in Turnbull.

Turnbull is the fourth Australian prime minister to be ousted by his own party since 2010 in what's so far been a turbulent era for most Australians.

Speculation is now rife that Morrison will call a snap election, although he said: "We intend to be governing. I don't think anybody should be making any plans for any elections any time soon."

The last Australian Federal Election was in July 2016 and the deadline for the next one is early November 2019. Bettors think Morrison will keep his word and leave it as long as possible, so they make it [1.8] that the next federal election will take place after May next year.

As we've seen, a lot can happen in Australian politics in a short period and Morrison will certainly be hoping his Liberal Party can regain the trust of voters in time for an election. At the moment, the opposition Labour Party are [1.32] to win.

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