Brexit delays see the UK electorate participate in next Thursday’s European Elections (23 May).
With Conservative and Labour parties damaged by their handling of Brexit, does this ‘last UK-EU election’ point towards a new dawn for UK politics? Furthermore, what are the implications of any UK-EU election results – SBC gets the bookies lowdown…
SBC: Both Conservative and Labour camps have been damaged by their handling of Brexit. Do the European Elections point towards new contenders emerging in UK politics?
Sarbjit Bakhshi (Head of Politics Smarkets): With the Conservatives and Labour in disarray over Brexit, parties that are much clearer on the issue such as Change UK and the Brexit Party are likely to make significant gains at their expense.
At this stage, our markets are showing a very strong possibility (91%) of the Brexit Party claiming most seats against all other parties from the UK.
Those other parties need to get their houses together to eat away at this lead. Whether they have enough strength to do so after years of bitter internal infighting, is another matter.
SBC: With the Conservative Party trounced at last month’s local elections, and facing further humiliation at a European level. Is this the end of Theresa May’s PM tenure or does she continue as the ‘Teflon Lady’?
Katie Baylis (UK & European PR Betfair): The PM has been on borrowed time for months, but her determination to get a Brexit deal in place on her watch has seen her withstand any calls to stand down, promising instead to leave once a deal is reached which still looks a long way off. But with many senior Tories determined to force her out, the seemingly never-ending negotiations could add even more pressure on her to exit before then. Punters on Betfair Exchange have no doubt she won’t last the year with odds currently at 2/13 that she will go in 2019, but the second half of the year is favoured for a departure with odds of 11/1 that she’ll be gone by the end of June and a much shorter price of 6/4 that her exit date will be between July and September, with the final months of the year at 7/5.
SBC: What are the implications of any European Election results. The UK government is set on leaving the EU, and terms of departure have been agreed on by negotiating parties?
Matt Shaddick (Ladbrokes Politics): Whatever happens, the results will probably be forgotten quite quickly, as the elections are likely to be written off as a meaningless exercise, certainly by the losers. However, if the Tories do poll under 10% (a 5/2 shot at Ladbrokes) that’ll help pile the pressure on Theresa May to go sooner rather than later. If The Brexit Party do top the poll as the betting markets suggest they will, it’ll give them a boost running into the Peterborough by-election two weeks later.
The prospect of a 2019 general election will probably diminish even further, as neither the Conservatives or Labour will fancy giving Farage a shot a re-arranging the House of Commons if his party has just won the most seats in the Euros.