Brexit

 

Theresa May’s odds of remaining as British Prime Minister have been slashed by British bookmakers after her controversial transitional Brexit deal suffered a larger-than-expected defeat in parliament this evening.

Both Paddy Power and Betfair have revised their odds downwards to an odds-on of 1/5 [implied probability 83.3%] for a May exit in 2019, with most bookies having priced the same outcome at around 2/5 [implied probability 71.4%] as late as yesterday evening.

“In normal times, such a crushing defeat on a key piece of government legislation would be expected to be followed by a prime ministerial resignation,” indicated one commentator at the BBC.

May herself, however, has indicated that she has no intentions of resigning, prompting Jeremy Corbyn to follow through on his previous threat of tabling a motion of no-confidence which in turn could trigger a general election – an outcome whose own odds of taking place in 2019 have fallen from around 11/8 to evens with a number of bookmakers.

Overwhelming Defeat

Today’s first “meaningful vote” was arguably the most important to pass through parliament in years. May had needed a majority 320 from 639 sitting MPs to approve the transitional deal she had concluded with the EU in mid-November.

In the end, however, she received only 202 votes in her favour, with 432 voting against the deal.

In the short term, the British Prime Minister’s options include formally requesting an extension to Article 50 to create breathing room for a possible new cross-party approach to re-negotiating the current deal with Europe, along with accommodating new measures in favour of a second referendum.

All of these options present their own pitfalls. European representatives have done little to hide their disappointment this evening with President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker – somewhat unhelpfully – tweeting “I urge the UK to clarify its position as soon as possible. Time is almost up.”