UK Politics Latest Odds: Johnson takes Britain to brink of no deal Brexit

  • Max Liu
  • 4:00 min read
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson said no deal was "very, very likely"

Get the latest politics odds on Boris Johnson leaving office next year, another Brexit referendum and more as the UK teeters on brink of no deal, from Max Liu...

"On the Sportsbook it’s 3/1 that the UK will hold another in-out referendum on membership of the EU before the end of 2024."

Boris Johnson is 2.47/5 on the Exchange to leave office in 2021 as the UK looks set to reach the end of the Brexit transition period without a trade deal. At the time of writing negotiations are continuing between the British government and the European Union.

Johnson and European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen will speak again today but both sides have warned in recent days, however, that no deal is the most likely outcome. Johnson said failure to reach an agreement was "very, very likely."

Where is Johnson's oven-ready deal?

This weekend it is exactly one year since Johnson lead the Conservatives to their best election result for more than 30 years. He did so largely by vowing to "Get Brexit Done" and telling the public that his government had an "oven-ready" deal in place with the European Union.

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That deal has failed to materialise, with the government claiming the EU has moved the goalposts and arguing that what's on offer would undermine UK sovereignty.

At the end of a torrid year for the British prime minister, which has seen his popularity slump, he is now rated almost as likely to leave office in the next 12 months as he is to lead the Conservatives into the next general election.

His handling of the final stages of the negotiations with the EU has reportedly caused dismay and astonishment among senior Tories. Former deputy PM Michael Hestletine called Brexit "the worst peacetime decision of modern time."

This is no surprise as it's been his position for the past four years. However, it's more interesting that Hestletine added: "I know personally of members of the cabinet who believe this as firmly as I do. I cannot understand their silence."

The leading candidates in the next Tory leader betting are both ardent Brexiteers: Rishi Sunak 3.412/5 and Michael Gove 8.07/1. Jeremy Hunt 9.417/2 supported Remain before the 2016 referendum but came around to leaving afterwards.

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The consequences of a no deal Brexit could be considerable, with everything from a shortage of ham to a stronger case for Scottish independence part of the potential fall-out. Brexiteers have variously argued over recent years that a deal would be "the easiest in human history" (Liam Fox) and that Germany, France and other members would not risk their trading relationships with the UK. This week, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron both reportedly turned down requests from Johnson for face to face meetings.

On the Sportsbook it's 3/1 that the UK will hold another in-out referendum on membership of the EU before the end of 2024. Mind you, it's 1/5 that it won't.

Leavers coming back to Labour?

Ed Miliband, Labour's shadow business secretary, was unequivocal about the deadlock between the UK and EU and said on Sunday: "We need a deal. No deal is a disastrous outcome for the country."

His words came at the same time as a large poll, which canvassed 7000 people, showed Labour winning back trust among Brexit supporters.

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At the election one year ago 70% of those who voted leave in 2016 voted Tory. This week's poll from Opinium showed a swing to Labour among Leave voters of 5.5 points. The Tories retain the support of 63% of Leave voters, although it will be interesting to see if that holds up in the event of no deal.

The most likely outcome at the next general election on the Exchange is a hung parliament 2.166/5 - a result that would be a considerable achievement for Labour following last year's emphatic defeat and need a swing of 4.2%.

Brexit tore the Tory party apart but it caused considerable problems for Labour and could still create more for them. If Johnson does agree a deal with the EU then Labour leader Keir Starmer is expected to tell his MPs to vote for it in the national interest - a move that would cause unease among many of the party's pro-Remain politicians, including members of the shadow cabinet.

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