The European Parliamentary elections were held in the UK over the weekend and the results have shown that the country is as divided over Brexit as ever.  As can be seen on the chart below, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party had a massive result, securing 29 seats with 31.6% of the vote.  The Lib Dem’s also gained over the last election, as did the Green Party.  The big losers on the night were the Conservatives and Labour (The UKIP votes went to the Brexit Party).  This will serve as a wake-up call to the Tory’s in the selection of their replacement for Theresa May and will inform the rhetoric coming out of 10 Downing St in the days and weeks to come.  Based on the fact that the Brexit Party wants a “hard Brexit, which seemed to resonate with voters, it is likely that the Conservative caucus will choose a leader who reflects this view. 

This is a good time to reflect on who is most likely to become the next Prime Minister.  There have been a plethora of candidates throwing their hat into the ring, and we outline who each person is, what their Brexit stance is, and what the odds makers, the ones who put their money where their mouths are, are showing as the betting line.  Remember, the odds makers have been far more accurate in predicting political outcomes than the pollsters have been over the past 3 years, so they are worth listening to.  We’ve also thrown in the odds for the leaders of the Labour Party and the Brexit Party for the sake of comparison.

Candidate Who Are They? Brexit Stance Betting Odds
Boris Johnson The Former Mayor of London, Johnson quit his job as Foreign Secretary in 2018 in protest to Theresa May’s Brexit plans. Voters love him, parliamentarians don’t, so getting enough Tory MP’s to vote to get him onto the ballot will be his challenge. Former face of the Vote Leave campaign.  He said he will push for a hard Brexit if Europe isn’t willing to re-open negotiations. Odds-on

favourite at

7 to 4

Dominic Raab An MP since 2010, Raab was appointed as Justice Minister in 2015 but then was sacked by Theresa May when she became PM in 2016.  Raab became Brexit secretary in 2018, but then resigned as he couldn’t “in good conscience” support May’s EU deal.

 

Staunch Brexiteer who had called for Britain to leave the EU long before the referendum. 4 to 1
Michael Gove Former Education Secretary, and then Environment Secretary, Gove was one of the only cabinet members who remained in May’s camp to help her push for an EU deal.  He undermined Boris Johnson’s leadership hopes by announcing his candidacy on the morning Johnson was going to, saying Johnson wasn’t up to the role. Gove was a key ally of former PM David Cameron and threw his weight behind the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum. 11 to 2
Jeremy Hunt After 6 years with the Health portfolio, Hunt was moved to the Foreign Office following Johnson’s resignation. Hunt campaigned for the Remain side in the referendum but has since become a Brexiteer. He is prone to gaffs, like comparing the EU to the Soviet Union.  He has some hurdles to overcome. 14 to 1
Rory Stewart Stewart became International Development Secretary after the current secretary was fired in early May and was the Prisons Secretary prior to that. Stewart was previously a Remainer but has said he has accepted Brexit.  He wants to “reach out to the Remain voters and bring this country together again”. 20 to 1
Andrea Leadsom The former Commons Secretary, Leadsom quit the cabinet as PM May tried to win last gasp support for her Brexit plans.  She ran against May for the leadership in 2016 but had to abandon those plans after the party turned on her over comments she made about May.  She has strong support from the far right of the party. Leadsom is a very prominent Brexiteer. 20 to 1
Sajid Javid A former banker, Javid is the Home Secretary and has held the portfolios of Business Secretary, Culture Secretary and Communities and Local Government Secretary. Javid backed the Remain side in the referendum, but hedged his bets saying his backing came with “a heavy heart and no enthusiasm”.  Solidly on the fence. 33 to 1
Steve Baker Former Brexit Secretary, he resigned in 2018 saying he had been “blindsided” by May’s Brexit policy. He was a Leaver even before the referendum 40 to 1
Matt Hancock Currently the Health Secretary, he is a former Bank of England economist. Voted to Remain 50 to 1
Jeremy Corbyn Leader of the Labour Party Has shifted his stance and now supports having a second referendum 50 to 1
Nigel Farage Leader of the Brexit Party, Member of the European Parliament, and former leader of UKIP.

 

Wants a ‘hard Brexit’, going back to WTO rules. 66 to 1

Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, or a second referendum vote. It all adds up to continued uncertainty in the UK and therefore likely higher GBP volatility looking forward.  

Author: John Glover