Theresa May secured a reprieve last week when she survived a confidence vote from her party, but the prime minister still faces mounting difficulties after failing to persuade the EU to make concessions on the Irish backstop.
The issue is preventing numerous Conservative and DUP MPs alike from backing May’s EU withdrawal agreement (although some are stalling for time in the hope of forcing a ‘no-deal’ departure), to such an extent that the ‘meaningful vote’ on the deal was pulled from the House of Commons in the face of a near-certain defeat.
With no indication that Brussels will budge on the guarantees it feels are necessary to prevent a hard border in Ireland, there is no solution in sight to the current gridlock in parliament.
The bookmakers think it is increasingly likely that the only way to make a breakthrough will be to put the question back to the people in the form of a second referendum, or ‘People’s Vote’. Bet365 and BetVictor are now offering best odds of 5/4* that there will be another referendum in the New Year, while Ladbrokes and Coral quote 3/1* that the UK public will vote to remain in the EU in 2019.
May, meanwhile, is no bigger than 1/2* with Coral to leave her post next year after confirming that she would not lead her party into a 2022 General Election. She did, however, offer no assurance that she would not fight an election sooner than 2022.
|*All odds quoted are subject to change|