The odds on the UK leaving the EU by 31 October this year are drifting after Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to be the next leader of Conservative Party, failed to confirm that he would keep to the deadline.
Tory MPs are voting today on which two leadership candidates will get through to the final round to face party members. Boris Johnson [1.11], who has already won three rounds of voting by considerable margins, is the overwhelming favourite to succeed Theresa May.
For bettors, the value lies in choosing which of the four remaining candidates will go through to final round with Johnson. Jeremy Hunt, who came second in the third round, is [1.11], with Michael Gove [4.4] and Sajid Javid [15.5].
Bettors back no Brexit by Halloween
Britain is [1.29] not to leave the European Union by the 31 October deadline. In Tuesday's televised debate between the candidates, only Sajid Javid, who's [150.00] to succeed May and expected to leave the contest today – guaranteed that he would take Britain out by the deadline that was agreed with the EU earlier this spring.
Ill-informed and unexplained – Johnson's Brexit plan
Johnson, who has previously courted hardliners in his party by vowing to take the UK out with or without a deal, appeared to be managing expectations when he said that delivering Brexit by Halloween was “eminently feasible.” He also said his much-vaunted tax break plans were merely an idea, not necessarily a policy he'd seek to implement under the current parliamentary arithmetic which sees the Tories without a majority.
So the question must be asked – is Johnson, a man known for broken promises and his willingness to say anything to get what he wants, going to bungle Brexit? He appeared ill-informed about the Northern Ireland backstop arrangements and, in spite of being potentially weeks away from becoming the UK's prime minister, has failed to explain how he will renegotiate the withdrawal deal from the EU.
While bettors make him a shoo-in to win his party's leadership, they have little confidence in him delivering the kind of Brexit for which he has agitated from the sidelines. While July to December 2019 is [2.7] in the year of Brexit betting, it's notable that the next shortest price is on no Brexit before 2022 [3.45]. If that's the case then the Johnson government is set to be assailed by the same problems as the May government.