If Brexit doesn’t happen on the March 29th Article 50 deadline then it might not happen at all

If Brexit doesn’t happen on the March 29th Article 50 deadline then it might not happen at all

Betdata.io chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

Mrs May should have declared her deal a triumph

As we move closer to the critical votes next week on Brexit the betting markets remain uncertain as to what is going to happen. The chart above shows a market that we’ve not featured on PB before – when will the UK actually leave the EU.

If Theresa May gets her deal through then the chances are that the March 29th deadline could be passed and Britain could be out of the EU at 11 p.m. that evening. The only problem is that it is a very big if indeed that Theresa May’s deal will actually get approved by MPs

In an excellent piece of analysis a couple of days ago the Indy’s John Rentoul argued that the deal that Mrs May agreed last November was in fact a major achievement and she should have been triumphalistic. He goes on:

She should have gone to the podium in Brussels on 25 November, at the end of the special summit and said: “It is game, set and match to the UK. I have secured the deal we wanted. It was a hard-fought negotiation but the EU side has conceded a UK-wide temporary customs union. That means we avoid a hard border in Ireland and we avoid a customs border in the Irish Sea. We will have the benefits of special access to the EU single market and an end to free movement of people.”

Later, when she got home, she could have been even more triumphalist. “The EU said the four freedoms were indivisible, but we divided them,” she could have told a noisy House of Commons. “They said ‘no cherry picking’ but I’ve just driven a cherry picker into the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels and taken the biggest cherry of them all. We have won control of our money, our laws and our borders while maintaining privileged, customs-free access to the single market.”

By sounding so hesitant it is hardly surprising that others shared this view over what had been agreed. This was the exact opposite of Harold Wilson and his negotiation ahead of the first European referendum in the mid-1970s. He achieved relatively little but very much overplayed it and the public went with him.

We look to our politicians to lead and sometimes that means they’ve got to bullshit a bit. Unfortunately that is not Mrs May’s style.

Mike Smithson

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