UK Markets closed

People are betting the UK will get a new Prime Minister this year

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
On the way out? British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Betting markets are increasingly convinced that UK Prime Minister Theresa May will leave office this year.

British bookmakers are offering odds of 1/2 on average that May will leave the PM’s office this year, according to comparison site Oddschecker.com.

Betting exchange company, Smarkets, says its market on Theresa May’s exit date suggests there’s a 64% chance the PM will leave this year. The odds have been shortening over the last few months and a spokesperson for Smarkets said £40,000 ($51,400) has been wagered in the market for May’s exit date.

May’s exit could be sparked by either a fresh general election or her resigning. She has vowed to stay in office until Brexit is completed but has said she will not contest the next election, which is currently scheduled for 2022.

Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets’ head of political markets, said in an email that the lack of support for Theresa May’s Brexit deal and her reluctance to compromise appears to be driving conviction that she will leave this year.

These factors are also driving gamblers’ conviction that Britain will not leave the EU by 29 March, with the “No” market pricing a 79% chance of an extension to Article 50.

The prime minister’s deal looks dead but our markets at Smarkets strongly suggest an extension will be requested and another deal will be the ultimate vehicle that the UK uses to leave the EU,” Bakhshi said.

Theresa May presented her Brexit “Plan B” to Parliament on Monday but it was not substantively different to her “Plan A.”

Samuel Tombs, Pantheon Macroeconomics’ chief UK economist, said in a note on Tuesday: “Her plan is highly likely to fail, again.”

He said MPs were likely to support an amendment on 29 January that will bind the government to avoiding a no deal Brexit by delaying Brexit if a deal is not agreed upon by the end of February.

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Oscar Williams-Grut covers banking, fintech, and finance for Yahoo Finance UK. Follow him on Twitter at @OscarWGrut.

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