Theresa May’s Cabinet will decamp to Chequers on Friday in a bid to thrash out an agreement over the Government’s position on Brexit, but with divisions being aired openly by ministers the chances of reaching a conclusion that is acceptable to both sides of the warring party appear slim.
Even if the Prime Minister is able to get any kind of agreement ahead of the publication of the government’s White Paper on its approach to Brexit next week, there seems little chance that the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier will agree to its likely demands, with the EU already saying it will rule out any deal that attempts to ‘cherry pick’.
There remains a very real prospect that May will fail to strike a deal that is acceptable to both parliament and the Eurosceptic wing of her party, leaving her vulnerable to either a leadership challenge or a vote of no confidence.
Several observers have noted that if parliament were to vote down May’s eventual deal then the Tories will have little choice other than to go back to the country for a new mandate. As ministers including Sajid Javid, Gavin Williamson and Jeremy Hunt ramp up their bids to replace May, William Hill are quoting just 2/1* that there will be another General Election before the year is out, while Ladbrokes and Coral go 5/2* that the country will go to the polls again in 2019. Betfred, on the other hand, are offering 6/1* that the next General Election will be this year.
|*All odds quoted are subject to change|