There is little doubt that the big political story between now and June 21st when the final COVID controls are due to be lifted will be whether there will be a deferment. Smarkets have now got a betting market up with deferment currently at 1.51 and the timetable being followed at 2.26. These are the rules:
This market relates to whether all legal limits on social contact in England (in the context of coronavirus restrictions) will be removed on 21 June 2021, in line with step four of the UK government’s coronavirus roadmap. If the UK government announces before 21 June 2021 that step four of the coronavirus roadmap will be delayed and not be implemented on 21 June 2021, this market will settle for no. If step four of the coronavirus roadmap is implemented in full on 21 June 2021 as planned, this market will settle for yes.
A complicating factor is that either side of June 21st there are two Westminster by-elections where the Tories are odds on to win – Chesham and Amersham on June 17th and Batley and Spen on July 1st. Would pulling back on the widely promised “freedom day” hurt the party’s chances?
I’m very mich divided myself on what Boris will do. All his hopes and inclinations will be to stick to the plan but it would be bad in the medium to long-term if fully opening up too early made the pandemic worse than it has been. On top of that an ongoing problem for him being raised by Dom Cummings is about the lack of action in the first part of March 2020.
The form book tells us that when faced with a similar dilemma before Christmas the PM chose the cautious route.
My money is on this not happening.