JoJo’s resignation pushes the odds on a 2019 referendum to 29%

JoJo’s resignation pushes the odds on a 2019 referendum to 29%

When transport minister and brother of BoJo, Jo Johnson, quit as transport minister on Friday calling for a second referendum there was an uptick on the Betfair betting market that one would take place before the end of 2019.

It moved from about a 22% chance to a 29% chance which is where it remains at the moment. I’ve been looking at this market for some time and the odds have never been sufficiently attractive either way to tempt me.

Obviously there is a huge issue in relation to timing because it is hard to see the necessary legislation going through the Commons and being passed in time for a referendum before the article 50 exit date of March 29th.

But that rigid timetable might not be as big an obstacle as it might appear.

    There is a court case going on which could end up with Britain having the option unilaterally to withdraw article 50. Also you could envisage that the EU 27 might agree to an extension in the deadline to allow a second referendum to take place.

The real question is whether there is a plausible political pathway for this to happen and so much seems up in the air at the moment that is hard to come to a conclusion on that.

The suggestion is that Mrs May will put to the Commons the deal she gets at a late stage. Then MPs will be faced with agreeing the terms she manages to achieve or a no deal exit for which it is hard to see a majority of the Commons backing.

Labour is pressing hard for a new General Election though it lacks the MP numbers to be able to force the issue and it is difficult to see the party securing a no confidence vote which isn’t rescinded within a fortnight as laid down by the Fixed Term Parliament Act.

We also don’t know the level of resolve of the prospective Tory Rebels when faced with the prospect of leaving without a deal. Whatever they say now might be tempered by the process of being asked to vote on that very point.

I still can’t see value on either side of the bet and maybe other PBers might be able to enlighten me.

Mike Smithson

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