Brexit Odds Shift Towards Extension Despite No Deal Threat

Brexit Odds Shift Towards Extension Despite No Deal Threat
© PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

Boris Johnson faces a crunch few weeks of his premiership as the UK and EU sit down for an eighth round of Brexit trade talks this September.

And the latest UK politics betting odds suggest Johnson’s team are in for a tough slog if they are to get the Brexit deal they want.

The two camps are embedded in talks over a trade deal that will finally put an end to the UK’s departure from the union.

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost pre-empted the talks by insisting the country could simply walk away and leave the EU without a trade agreement on January 1, 2021.

"I don't think that we are scared of this at all,” Frost told the Mail on Sunday when discussing No Deal.

“We want to get back the powers to control our borders and that is the most important thing.”

Brexit Odds Shift

The tough talk from the UK negotiating team was echoed by Johnson himself, who has recently derided the withdrawal agreement he worked to establish.

Meanwhile, a leak in the Financial Times revealed ministers are planning to override the agreement with domestic legislation once the UK has left the EU – something Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted in the Commons would “break international law”.

Yet despite all this, UK bookmakers William Hill have set odds of just 5/2 on the EU and UK extending the withdrawal agreement past January 1, 2021.

Going Against Promises

For now, No 10 insists no extension will take place. The UK either leaves with a Deal or No Deal on December 31.

Indeed, extending trade talks into next year would be a remarkable comedown for the prime minister and his government.

The Conservatives earned an 80-seat majority at the 2019 general election on the ticket that they would “get Brexit done”, while Johnson himself insisted the withdrawal agreement was “oven ready”.

Yet nine months down the line and Johnson has set an October 15 deadline for his negotiating team to iron out the withdrawal agreement, or he will pursue No Deal.

There are many in the EU camp who believe the UK is bluffing, in an effort to force the union’s hand on issues such as fisheries and state aid.

And the recent politics betting markets suggest punters also think Johnson and co. could be in for a major climbdown if that October 15 date passes without a deal.

Trade Deal Unlikely

Meanwhile, the odds on a Deal being implemented this year have widened to Evens (1/1), while No Deal is currently set at 4/7. It highlights the growing pessimism among bettors that an agreement will be reached.

As for Johnson, his government is facing another battle with a resurgent coronavirus as social distancing measures come back into force.

This comes after a spike in cases this week triggered concern the UK is set for a second wave this autumn.

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