Archive for the 'Article 50' Category


Get ready for the no deal Blame Game

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

There’s little doubt that the Mail’s front page this morning correctly sums up the current position in relation to brexit with just 8 days to go. Given what the EU response was to Theresa May’s request for more time and her ongoing desire to get her deal approved then there must be an increasing chance that No Deal becomes what happens.

If what we have been led to believe a No Deal would entail that looks like a catastrophe which will impact on the lives of millions of people. Inevitably, if this indeed what happens, there’ll be a massive blame game.

Theresa May with her complete rigidity has continued to use everything to just to get her deal through and has not been ready to countenance any change or deviation. Corbyn’s not helped. Last night he refused to attend a meeting of party leaders to try to sort things out because Chukka was there. How petty but perfectly predictable. These events will be remembered.

It was always said that May’s plan to get her deal agreed was to take the nation to the cliff edge with agreement to her deal being the only option. Maybe that will work. She’s certainly not deviating from the plan

In all of this TMay has been hugely helped by the ERG’s move in December to no confidence her. She survived, of course, and at the same time got 12 months immunity from such a move being repeated.

No deal remains a 20% chance in the betting. That might increase during the day.

Mike Smithson


On a huge day of political betting a no deal Brexit on March 29th move from a 12% chance to 22% in fourteen hours

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

The other big market movement today

Mike Smithson


The betting chances of Commons agreeing deal before March 30th move up sharply to 43%

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

The main betting mover on another day of high drama on brexit has been on the when will the Commons pass a brexit vote market.

Before PMQs this was rated as a 26.8% chance and then with what Theresa May said and other indications this has now gone to 43%.

There seems to be increasing confidence that Theresa May’s long term strategy of getting her deal because the alternatives are worse through might just succeed.

It is quite extraordinary how Mrs May has been so unbelievably rigid in her approach right from last November when the discussions on the main deal ended in Brussels.

Mike Smithson


Not before 2022 now joint favourite with Q2 2019 for when Brexit happens

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

So much potentially could happen in the ten  days that remain between now and March 29th it is inevitable that there has been an enormous amount of movement on this Betfair  market on when Brexit will actually happen.

As can be seen Q2 2019 has dropped very sharply in the last few days partly in response to the difficulty Mrs May has had in getting support for her deal and partly due to the assertions yesterday by the Speaker.

Tonight the speculation is that the postponement that the government is planning seek could end up as 2 years which is far in excess anything that the hardline leavers wanted.

I find it very difficult to read the current politics and I’m sure that I am not alone. The likely failure to meet the March 29th deadline is almost certainly going to lead to Brexit being less likely to happen.

In all political betting it is wise to check the actual terms of the market and this is Betfair’s  definition on this one below.

“For the purposes of this market leaving the EU is defined as the date when the treaties of the EU cease to apply to the UK. Examples of when this might occur include, but are not limited, to: the date specified in a withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU; the end of the two year negotiating period (29/03/2019) as set out by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (or any extension to this time period); or the date of the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act. If more than one of these events were to occur, this market will be settled on the first of these events to occur. In the case of the two year time period in Article 50 being extended, via a unanimous vote by all EU Member States, we will settle this market on the extended date. This market will settle when the UK leaves the EU even if parts of the UK (e.g. Scotland, Northern Ireland) leave the UK or receive special status within the EU.”

Mike Smithson


While all the focus is Speaker Bercow

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

And if you haven’t seen this

The main overnight Brexit news


Bercow’s ruling adds to the Brexit uncertainty

Monday, March 18th, 2019

It’s looking more like TMay will have to ask for more time

So another day and more uncertainty over what is going to happen over brexit just 11 days away from the March 29th article 50 deadline. The Commons speaker, John Bercow, ruled in the house this afternoon that the government could not bring the deal plan back to the house for a further vote. He was applying the the rule that in any one session The Commons can only make a decision once.

This was very much a surprise and makes it more difficult for Theresa May who had been hoping that she might just get enough MPs to support her deal in vote intended to take place tomorrow. My guess is that some smart wordsmith with be trying to rephrase the motion that’s been rejected twice in a form that has the same effect but is different. It would be then be back in Bercow’s court.

A problem for ministers is that there has been bad blood between the Tories and the Speaker going back to the coalition years.

Unless a procedure fix can be found then the next stage is surely going to be the government having to ask Brussels for an extension to the article 50 period. The problem here is that it is thought that ministers would have to state a reason. The other 27 Nations within the EU are hardly going to grant the request unless they can see what it is for.

Those hoping for another referendum have been heartened by the news and on Betfair it is now a 28% chance that such an event will take place this year.

Mike Smithson


There could still be value in betting that the UK will leave on March 29th

Friday, March 15th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

There are three big reasons why there might still be value in betting, currently 11%, on the UK leaving the EU on March 29th as laid down in the article 50 process.

The first is Theresa May herself. She has been utterly determined and rigid over the past months and is still trying to get her deal through. There is clearly a growing realisation that if this does not happen on the due date that increases the chances of Brexit not happening at all. I’ve said before half a loaf is better than none if you are a determined Brexiteer.

The second reason is that the departure date is enshrined in British law and it requires legislation to change that. Now parliament can act extremely quickly in emergency circumstances but that generally requires a level of consensus in both Houses of Parliament. That doesn’t exist over brexit.

The third reason is that any extension of the article 50 process requires the unanimous agreement of the 27 remaining members of the EU and efforts are being made by hardliners to lobby and persuade one or two EU governments not to ratify. It only requires one of them to veto it and that’s it.

My guess is that the betting price on this will be subject to a fair amount of turbulence in the next few days and that’s always provide opportunities for punters.

I’m looking for something a bit below the current 11%.

Mike Smithson


Punters make it a 26% chance that Brexit won’t happen before 2022 – if at all

Thursday, March 14th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

Doubts rise following the failure to agree a deal

With MPs continuing with the voting on the amendments to the article 50 motion the chart above features a Betfair betting exchange market that I have not put on the site before. This is when will be the actual date of the UK’s exit. If you do not believe it is going to happen then you bet on the not before 2022 option which is now at 26% just under the highest it has ever been .

The favourite, as can be seen, is quarter two of this year running from April to June and that is put it just a 32% chance.

As has been discussed at length the big problem with delaying Article 50 for long is the requirement to hold elections to the European Parliament at the end of May. I’m aware of some parties which have already put in place selection processes to ensure that if, at the last minute, these elections do take place then they do have candidates lined up.

One of the motions being voted on this evening is on a referendum and here Labour has ordered its him MPs to abstain. I’m not so sure this is a good idea because of the reported growing anger amongst some activists at Corbyn’s equivocal stance. This will be remembered.

Mike Smithson