Brexit on hold as UK gears up for December general election

Elias Hubbard
October 31, 2019

In late October, EU president Donald Tusk formally announced that the EU had agreed to grant the United Kingdom an extension to its departure deadline, pushing back the date three months to 31 January. That makes the third time since the initial 29 March deadline that Brexit has been officially pushed back.

UK MPs may still agree to a deal before January of course, though many experts are saying that a deal is far from done at this point in time. Now that a general election has been confirmed for 12 December, it's looking increasingly unlikely that any deal will be successfully passed through Parliament until the public has voted. The decision comes as a relative surprise to some, given the fact that Jeremy Corbyn has blocked the idea of an election three times during Boris Johnson's tenure as prime minister.

Corbyn explains that his change in position is due to the fact the risk of a 'no deal' Brexit is now off the table following the EU's decision to extend the Article 50 deadline until 31 January. Speaking from Labour’s campaign headquarters in London, he said:

“I have consistently said that we are ready for an election. Our support is subject to a no-deal Brexit being off the table. Now that this condition has been met, we will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen.”

House of Commons debate

Following intense discussions within the House of Commons, the overwhelming majority of MPs voted in favour of Boris Johnson's motion for an election on 12 December. Since gaining office, Johnson has consistently sought a victory at the polls that would cement his position at No. 10 and give him a stronger footing to get his Brexit deal through Parliament.

Yet despite having been placed on hold for the time being, it’s certain that Brexit will remain a hot topic among the election debate. Many expect Jeremy Corbyn to target his campaign toward younger voters and remainers in a bid to secure maximum support for a Labour victory. The SNP, LibDems, Brexit Party and Greens will also look to rally their base and gain support by linking their message closely to their Brexit alignment.

The outcome remains uncertain for all no matter how you look at it. Bookmakers are constantly adjusting their general election odds and Brexit betting tips in response to every new development in the press. As of 30 October, Betfair list the odds of Britain leaving the EU in 2019 at 25/1, indicating a dim sense of expectation that Parliament will agree to a deal this year. 

What happens next?

We’re likely to find out more over the coming weeks with many more updates expected to come from each party as they get their respective campaigns into gear. Despite the lingering uncertainty on a viable EU deal, it's now certain the UK will face one of the most consequential general elections in post-war history – one that may very well determine the path the country takes on Brexit.

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