What are the odds of a new EU referendum and a no deal Brexit?

The UK is set to leave the EU in little over a year’s time, but what do the betting markets say about a new referendum?

On the 23rd June 2016, a slim majority of voters backed the UK’s exit from the European Union. Almost two years later, the UK remains in the Union, but is edging closer to the halfway point in negotiations. In just over a year’s time, the UK will likely be outside the European Union.

However, the UK’s vote to leave and the fact that Article 50 has been triggered have not stopped the anti-Brexit movement in the UK. The Liberal Democrats went into last year’s general election backing a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal – with the option to remain in the union – and the Guardian has reported that several anti-Brexit groups have team up to fight for a new referendum.

That all said, a referendum on the eventual deal is unlikely. With the vast majority of Tory MPs in favour of delivering the “will of the British people” and the DUP by their side, as well as the Labour leadership's acceptance that Brexit is happening, there is little to no parliamentary support for a new referendum.

Furthermore, while the government’s majority with the DUP is slim, a fresh election in the year before March 2019 looks significantly unlikely so even if pro-EU force - such as new party Renew - rose in the polls, the opportunity to transform that into electoral success would probably not take place.

The best hope for those wanting a second referendum is for the Labour leadership to change its tune.

But what do the betting markets say?

Ladbrokes offer odds of 5/1 for a new EU referendum before the end of 2019 (as of 22nd February). This suggests a new vote is unlikely, but the betting markets, while often said to be more reliable than polls, have been wrong in the past. Jeremy Corbyn was a 500/1 outsider in 2015 while Trump had similar odds to win the Republican nomination the year later.

The site also offers odds of 7/2 for the UK to still be a full EU member on 1st January 2020. This could happen if the UK votes to stay in the EU or if all member states agree to extend Article 50’s negotiating period.

What about no deal being reached by April 2019? The odds of this are 11/8, suggesting that its reasonably likely that the UK could leave the EU on WTO terms.