Arlene Foster
Arlene Foster

Odds on a formal deal for Brexit not being agreed before April 1st 2019 have now shortened to a plain evens.

The quotes from Ladbrokes and Coral – the only two British bookmakers who continue to offer a market for a no-deal outcome – come on the back of DUP leader Arlene Foster’s announcement that her party would not tolerate any exceptional arrangements for Northern Ireland in the UK’s ongoing discussions with the EU.

No Deal Gathering Further Momentum

In early August, trade secretary Liam Fox received criticism for claiming that the chances of a no-deal scenario stood as high as 40% which were in line with odds offered by many bookmakers at the time.

Today, however, with two further months having elapsed, Foster’s comments – which emerged after her own private meeting yesterday with EU negotiator Michel Barnier – suggest that Fox’s original observation may now represent an overly optimistic one.

“We can’t have a customs or regulatory barrier in the Irish Sea because that would cause us to be a rule-taker from Europe,” Foster explained to reporters.

However, some observers have expressed skepticism in relation to the statement, indicating that the DUP’s position can more likely be attributable to exceptionalism being seen as a potential stepping stone to a future re-evaluation of the border question itself.