Brexit Bulletin: From Election to No-Deal

Days to General Election: 16

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What’s Happening? However the U.K. general election plays out, a no-deal Brexit is still on the cards.

The specter of a no-deal Brexit hasn’t gone away. In fact, there are four ways the upcoming general election could revive the risk of an abrupt U.K. split from the European Union.

Only one election outcome gives Boris Johnson a clear path to get his Brexit deal approved in the timescale he wants. 

Conservative Majority: If Johnson’s Tories win more than 325 seats they will form the next government. Johnson will aim to pass his Brexit deal swiftly and formally leave the EU by Jan. 31. He then has 11 months to negotiate a trade agreement with Brussels — a goal many observers say will be hard to meet. No-Deal Alarm: Dec. 31, 2020. Little Change: There’s a real prospect that after all the campaigning Parliament will end up divided once again. This would herald more Brexit turmoil and a potential stream of crisis votes in early 2020. No-Deal Alarm: Jan. 31, 2020. Labour In, But Who Leads? If the Tories slump below 300 seats Labour might look to smaller parties for a way into Downing Street, potentially without Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister. That could set up a battle royale, with no-deal by accident a real possibility. No-Deal Alarm: Jan. 31, 2020. Prime Minister Corbyn: If the Tories and Labour each win similar numbers of seats, Corbyn could cut a deal with the Scottish National Party, offering a new referendum on Scottish independence. Corbyn would then seek a soft-Brexit deal before putting that to a public vote (and staying neutral). No-Deal Alarm: The next Conservative government.

Today’s Must-Reads

Former EU envoy Ivan Rogers believes the worst is yet to come on Brexit. In a hurry? Bloomberg’s Joe Mayes weighs up how difficult it might be to seal a trade deal by Dec. 2020.

Feel like you’ve heard it all before? You might be right. Johnson and Corbyn are tapping messages from past campaigns to boost their chances of victory, Bloomberg’s Alex Morales reports.

A Tory majority could mean a public spending and economic growth bump equivalent to a one percentage point interest-rate cut, Marcus Ashworth writes for Bloomberg Opinion.

Brexit in Brief

“New Poison” | Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis intervened in the election campaign, sharply criticizing Corbyn over antisemitism and saying Labour can “no longer claim to be the party of equality and anti-racism.” Corbyn responded by calling anti-Jewish sentiment “vile and wrong.”

Economists for Corbyn | Former Bank of England policy maker Danny Blanchflower and more than 160 other economists and academics have backed the Labour party’s election promises as the best way to help the U.K. economy.

Polls Hit the Pound | The pound slipped as a couple of polls showed a tightening race. A Kantar survey released Tuesday showed an 11 percentage point lead for the Tories, while an ICM/Reuters poll released late Monday put them seven points ahead of Labour. Traders are wary of an inconclusive result and an ongoing Brexit impasse. 

Tactical Shift | After Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine: The former Conservative cabinet minister became the latest pro-Remain politician to advocate tactical voting rather than tribal loyalty.

Landslide Ahead? | A detailed analysis of YouGov data revealed “some of the most startling polling numbers I have ever seen” — and could flag a Conservative landslide, pollster Peter Kellner writes for The Article.

Social Media Spending | The Liberal Democrats are spending more cash advertising on Facebook and Instagram than the Conservatives and Labour, a Guardian analysis on social media campaigning shows. Jo Swinson’s party is attempting to cut through with a strong anti-Brexit message.

Register to Vote | People in England, Scotland and Wales have until 11:59 p.m. tonight to register to vote in the U.K. general election. According to the Electoral Reform Society, at least 3.2 million applications have been made since the election was called, with 74% of those by people aged under 34.

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To contact the author of this story: Robert Hutton in London at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Blenford at [email protected], Chris Kay

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