Archive for the 'BREXIT' Category


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


Osborne’s Standard has surely got this right – TMay is in office but not in power

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

As we move into the most difficult fortnight for a prime minister in decades the former Chancellor and now editor of The London Evening Standard, George Osborne, has come out with the above front page about Theresa May.

He’s right. A situation where ministers feel able to ignore the government line is dangerous enough and, without sackings or resignations, almost unprecedented.

I always thought she was wrong to try to hang onto her job after losing the Tories their majority in the needless general election that she called. Clearly this has taken an enormous amount out of her not helped by her voice going at a critical moment.

Later today the Commons is likely to vote for an effort to be made to extend the Article 50 timetable so the UK doesn’t leave the EU as planned on March 29th.

In spite of last night’s vote legislation is required to extend the date from the British perspective and we don’t know how the EU will react.

It must be asked whether the PM has the personal and political strength to take this forward though a Tory leadership contest at this time would simply amplify the crisis.

Meanwhile business is totally unable to make plans because it does not know what will happen. What has been widely underestimated is the extent that so much of commercial and industrial activity is integrated into Europe already.

I always thought that TMay’s objective was laudable. She was trying to honour the result of the referendum while at the same time doing so in a way that caused the minimum amount of damage to the British economy. Unfortunately her lack of flexibility and other personal characteristics have been exposed.

Mike Smithson


And so MPs move on to vote against leaving the EU with no deal

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Assuming that passes we move onto extending A50

So after last night’s excitement today’s focus is a new Commons vote at 7pm on ruling out the UK leaving the EU with no deal. Then we’ll get tomorrow’s Article 50 extension move.

Assuming that both motions will pass from tomorrow the effort will be made to extend the Article 50 deadline. The question then will be put to the EU which will need all remaining EU members to agree.

The overwhelming complication is the Euro elections at the end of May in which the UK could possibly have to participate assuming the A50 extension was for more than a short period. Already the UK’s MEP seats have been re-allocated and parties throughout the EU have or are finalising their candidate selections.

Another feature of all this is that at the June 23rd 2016 referendum took place with the unsaid premise that any exit envisaged a deal. Indeed there’s a lot of Vote Leave material out there which says just that.

It can thus be argued, as I did on Twitter this morning, that there’s no democratic mandate for a no-deal exit. The leading figures in the Leave campaign were just about unanimous in their view that the negotiation would be easy and without complication.

And while all of this goes on we have a PM who is unable to secure key votes in the House of Commons.

NOTE.There are problems with linking to the Vanilla comments system. You should be able to get through here.

Mike Smithson


Something has changed. For the first time I can see how Brexit is delayed and/or revoked and it is all thanks to the ERG

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Cartoon by Marf

I’ve been betting on the assumption of leaving the EU at the end of the month with No Deal for quite some time for the following reasons

Brexit: It’s the law that we exit on the 29th of March 2019

No matter how many times MPs vote to say they are opposed to No Deal they need to pass primary legislation to stop No Dea and I think they’ve run out of time to do so.

Donkeys led by donkeys

Whether you’re a supporter of Remain or Leave few will disagree that the whole Brexit process has shown our political class lacking in nous or a modicum of common sense. As I noted above far too many MPs think they can stop No Deal just like that, but they aren’t the only idiots in Parliament.

I’ve lost count of the number of MPs who think we get a transition period even if we left with No Deal or think the transition deal is the future trading agreement. Don’t even get me started on those MPs who get tumescent at the prospect of moving to WTO.

I don’t think MPs couldn’t find a cup of water if you dropped them in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Asking them to prevent a No Deal Brexit seems a challenge beyond them.

The fact they are led by Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t inspire confidence either, particularly as many of us consider Corbyn ambivalent on Brexit as opposed to the passionate pro Europeanism of recent Labour leaders.

Revocation requires balls

I don’t think MPs have the balls to do so, because a long extension to Article 50 seems unlikely because of the European Parliament elections. Whether you agree with Brexit or not, the country voted for Brexit, just imagine if you’re a Remainer and Remain had won in 2016 and Parliament decided to Leave the EU, you’d be furious.

Sadly I think Revocation leads to violence and deplorables getting elected Parliament. UKIP might see Tommy Robinson and his ilk elected as MPs after revocation.

Some MPs might say the 2016 result was superseded when Mrs May asked for a large majority to implement her Red Lines on Brexit and the country took away the majority she had inherited from David Cameron.

MPs might take my view that the best way to cure British euroscepticism is to experience a No Deal Brexit which would destroy the credibility of so many Leavers and lead us to rejoin the EU within the next decade or so.

Something has changed though so I need to review my betting position.

Theresa May’s decision to hold a free vote makes it likely that MPs take No Deal off the table and once the inevitability of Brexit happening is removed then you can see how it not happens.

I now suspect Parliament will eventually send it back to the people and game it so Remain wins, such as ensuring EU citizens and 16 & 17 year olds are allowed to vote in the referendum.

By describing it as more democracy they could argue that they weren’t overturning democracy but honouring the 2016 referendum, after all Vote Leave said many times we wouldn’t be Leaving without a deal. 

As David Davis said “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

Thanks to the ERG suffering prematurely ejection last December their ability to remove Mrs May is limited until December 2019, they’d probably have to No Confidence their own government which I think will lead to a general election which sees the Tory party pummelled as there’s no manifesto that will allow the the disparate wings of the party to unite behind. Heck even the front men of Vote Leave Michael Gove and Boris Johnson cannot agree on whether Mrs May’s deal is acceptable or not.

So if we get No Brexit we should give thanks to the ERG.

I said back in 2016 that many Tory Leavers really didn’t believe in Brexit, they only backed Leave as they thought it would help the leadership/career prospects and weren’t expecting Leave to win, by voting against the deal it is their way of stopping something they don’t believe in but allows them to look good to Leavers in the membership.


Update – There is an issue with accessing the comments through the main site, but you can access the via the vanilla forums by clicking here.


Latest Brexit betting – Monday March 11th 1404GMT

Monday, March 11th, 2019

No deal by March 30 a 13% chance

MPs agreeing a deal by March 30th a 24% chance charts of movement on the Betfair exchange

Mike Smithson


Surely an Article 50 extension should be used to allow a proper investigation into the legitimacy of Leave’s victory

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

The UK cannot take such a giant step while questions are still unanswered

One of the thing’s that’s been quite extraordinary since June 2016 is, with one or two major exceptions, that the UK media has been reluctant to delve into questions over how the campaign operated. The result is now that the UK is edging towards leaving the EU with so many outstanding issues still unanswered.

Nobody can say for certain that the referendum outcome was legitimate. This week there’ve been a whole series of new issues raised by C4 News and in the US. That there’s growing evidence that the Russians tried to influence WH2016 some of which links to Brexit is surely a cause for a pause.

That today the Washington Post is running a story under the heading “The more we learn about Brexit, the more crooked it looks” should be deeply troubling to TMay and the cabinet.

We are it seems edging towards no agreement being reached on a deal and a possible request to the EU for an extension of the March 29th deadline. No doubt Brussels will ask what the time would be used for and part of the reason should be to allow investigations in parts of the campaign to be completed.

Mike Smithson


On the betting markets a March 29th UK Brexit down from a 71% chance to 16% in just five months

Friday, March 8th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

What’s happened on the £3.3m main Brexit market

As we get closer to Brexit day the betting interest grows and on the Betfair exchange a total of £3.3m has already been wagered on this one Brexit market alone.

I cannot recall a non-election market which has attracted this level and, of course it will grow and grow as we get nearer 11pm three weeks on from today.

The extraordinary changes in the betting are good way of looking at the politics since the last Conservative conference.

From what looked like a near certainty back in October now looks very uncertain indeed as Mrs May tries yet again to get her deal through.

I’ve still got a sneaky feeling that the ERG rebels might at the very last minute lose their bottle and let it through. Being a Brexit purist is fine except that they maybe risking it not happening at all.

Who knows what the post Brexit period will bring – best take what they have now.

Mike Smithson


Tonight’s Brexit news on how Russia sought to influence the referendum & YouGov on what voters think will happen

Thursday, March 7th, 2019