The chances of the UK leaving the EU on March 29th are surely greater than 54%

The chances of the UK leaving the EU on March 29th are surely greater than 54%

With so many big things happening in UK politics as the March 29 EU exit deadline gets nearer one of they key betting markers is surely “Will the UK leave the EU as planned on March 29th next year?”. The chart above shows the moves on Betfair over the past month.

It strikes me that the current betting price that it will happen of 54% is an understatement giving the machinations that would have to happen in order for the exit not to take place by that date. That would make this a value bet.

Even if there was the political will there really is no time left for a second referendum before that date and it is hard to see Theresa May’s government supporting the idea. Also the Electoral Commission has declared that it needs 5 or 6 months notice for such a major vote to take place and that takes us to a late spring at the earliest.

Even if that was moving forward there would still be a requirement for the EU27 to agree to the extension. This might change because of a court case that is currently being pursued but it is far from certain. Once the clock was started when Mrs May invoked Article 50 in March 2017 then it became much harder for any change of mind.

With the benefit of hindsight the Article 50 invocation should really have been delayed until such time as there was political agreement on what sort of relationship with the EU that the UK was looking for. We haven’t reached that yet.

I still think that one of the most remarkable ill-thought out things that Jeremy Corbyn has stated on this was his declaration on the day after the referendum in 2016 that Article 50 should be invoked immediately. If that had been the case we would have been out for nearly 6 months by now.

UPDATE – UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50

Mike Smithson

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