Bookmakers are more sure than ever that Article 50 — the two-year notice period the UK must give to the EU before leaving — will never be triggered, despite Prime Minister Theresa May’s continued insistence that “Brexit means Brexit.”
Sky Bet currently gives odds of 2/1 of Article 50 happening in “2018 or later or not at all” — the shortest odds in the market.
This means the odds of Article 50 never happening are even shorter than the 6/4 Sky Bet gave just over a week ago.
The betting apprehension related to Article 50 is unsurprising. As the dust settles on the Brexit vote, the legal complexity of leaving the EU is becoming clear.
A government lawyer has already informed the High Court that Article 50 will not be triggered this year, according to the Guardian, while there is already speculation that appeals against a Brexit could go straight to the UK’s Supreme Court.
Marcus J Ball, the founder of the #BrexitJustice campaign, has already raised almost £100,000 to take Leave campaigners to court for lying to the public about what a Brexit would mean for the UK. If the case is successful, it could have severe implications on a Brexit.
On top of that, there is also the issue of Scotland’s place in the EU negotiations. Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has made it clear that a Brexit could mean another independence referendum, with Scotland leaving the UK but staying in the EU. May has stressed that a Brexit must happen as a union, which some took to mean it might not happen at all given Scotland’s firm stance on the matter.
To make matters even worse, the civil service has a severe shortage of trade negotiators, with only 12 to 20 officials “with direct knowledge of trade negotiations,” available in Whitehall. Canada, which recently completed its own trade deal with the EU, has 830 by comparison.
Here are Sky Bet’s current odds on when Article 50 will be triggered:
- 2018 or later or not at all — 2/1
- January 1 to March 31 2017 — 2/1
- April 1 to June 30 2017 — 5/2
- October 1 to December 31 2016 — 7/1
- July 1 to September 30 2017 — 8/1
- October 1 to December 31 2017 — 10/1
- July 1 to September 20 2016 — 20/1