Irish bookmaker BoyleSports lengthened its odds of a second referendum on Brexit last night – its second significant upward adjustment of the odds this week alone. Having previously provided a quote of 4/1 on Monday for a Yes outcome on whether the British public will be offered a second vote, Boyle subsequently adjusted its price to 5/1 as results emerged from the first round of the Tory leadership contest on Thursday.
However, the bookmaker last night applied yet another upward revision to its odds – which now stand at 6/1 – as Boris Johnson yesterday unveiled his so-called strategy for managing the future direction of Brexit.
Whilst those plans were generally criticised for demonstrating a lack of originality in how the UK government can find a way out of the current impasse, they did betray a clear policy attitude that is focused on undercutting the Brexit Party of Nigel Farage – strongly implying that avoiding a second referendum will be the major priority of a Johnson administration.
Second Referendum Squarely in Labour Hands
Whilst it now appears that Johnson’s primary concern is to avoid an implosion of the Tory party, it increasingly seems that Jeremy Corbyn may need to accommodate a more explicit push for a second referendum if he is to minimise further fractures within his own party.
Corbyn has repeated on a number of occasions, however, that the content of a second referendum would need to be materially different from that of the first, likely serving as a ratification of any eventual direction in which the British parliament decides to take Brexit – assuming it can come to any kind of agreement in the first place.
And whilst it is still not clear which is more likely to occur first – a new general election, a second referendum, a renegotiated deal with Europe or a simple No Deal outcome – Johnson has stated that he sees the future of the Tory party as dependent on its ability to respect the current October 31 deadline, an outcome to which traders on Smarkets currently only assign a probability of 29%.