The December 12 election might make-or-break the Brexit deal
British people are heading to the polls as Parliament finally supported a December 12th general election last week. What is already beginning to be known as ‘Brexmas’ is likely to be one of the most volatile and unpredictable events in recent times in the UK.
Political parties kicked off their campaigns last Wednesday. Both Conservatives and the Labour Party are going to fight to influence the hearts and minds of the general public after months of deadlock in Westminster. This election is considered a ‘de facto’ second Brexit referendum, and a growingly weary population is hoping to get some clarity by mid-December as this result could either make or break Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal with the EU.
More Outcomes, More Opportunities
Guesser’s Brexit market ‘Will The UK Leave The European Union Before November 1st 2019?’, was listed in the weeks before Parliament rejected Johnson’s timetable for a Brexit bill and forced him to request a deadline extension from the EU up to January 31st.
As you have seen if you follow us on Twitter or take a look at our market news section from time to time, we have been informing you of everything that has happened during a mind-blowing end of October and start of November between London and Brussels.
Well, the wait for a new market is over!
Starting today, Guesser is introducing the highly anticipated multi-outcome markets, kicking them off with the market ‘UK General Election: Overall Majority Of Parliament Seats?’.
This event allows you to predict the Overall Majority of Parliament Seats that will be achieved as a result of the December 12 General Election. Odds are currently favoring a Conservative Majority, and No Overall Majority as the second most probable option.
How Does A UK General Election Work?
In the UK, voters don’t elect a Prime Minister directly. Instead, they elect a Member of Parliament (MP) to represent their local constituency. Each constituency is represented by a seat in the British Parliament. The leader of the party which wins an overall majority (more votes that the total number of votes won by all their opponents) of the UK’s 650 constituencies, automatically becomes Prime Minister.
That means a party needs to win 326 seats to form an overall majority government. If no group meets that number, the party with the most seats can seek the support of smaller parties, either to join in an official coalition, as the Liberal Democrats did for the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015, or support them on a more informal basis, as the Democratic Unionist Party has done since 2017.
This is how the seats were distributed before the British Parliament was dissolved for the current election:
How Parties Arrive To The Final Stretch
When Theresa May called a snap election in 2017 it costs her the previous majority and forced Tories to join forces with the DUP in a confidence-and-supply agreement.
Boris Johnson seems to be confident that by calling an election he can win back a Conservative majority and successfully get his Brexit deal done with the support he has around him.
His numbers include all the votes obtained by his predecessor (318 seats), apparently without any threats from the Brexit Party, as their leader Nigel Farage has recently revealed they will not contest seats won by Conservatives in 2017. In this way, the Tory leader will focus on those constituencies of Labour historical tradition where Brexit was backed by the 2016 referendum, hoping that his charisma and conviction can attract those voters to the cause.
Johnson arrives to this election after not being able to keep his promise to get the UK out of the EU on October 31st. Despite his popularity among Eurosceptic voters, a number of them will probably punish him for this failure.
The odds of a Conservative majority of Parliament seats are currently 1.64x.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been demanding an election for over a year, but when the time actually came, he had doubts. A large Labour sector has a very critical view of the candidate, whose popularity levels among British people are remarkably low, with some fearing a bad result on December 12th.
The ambiguity shown by Corbyn regarding Brexit has irritated some voters, as the largest part of the Labour Party wants the United Kingdom to stay in the EU.
The odds of a Labour majority of Parliament seats are currently 28.28x.
⚪️ Other Parties
A new 39-year-old leader, Jo Swinson, and a deeply pro-European message. The Liberal Democrats, who currently hold 20 seats in Westminster, see December 12th as their big opportunity. Facing Labour’s ambiguity, they promise to cancel Brexit if they win and campaign for a second referendum if they don’t secure a majority.
Their historical record is 62 seats, but in an election as volatile as the current one they could be both a big surprise or a big disappointment.
Brexit has been a lifesaver for a Scottish nationalism that is up against the ropes after losing the independence referendum in 2014. 62% of Scots voted against Brexit in 2016 and Boris Johnson produces serious rejection in this territory of the United Kingdom. A good result in the general election would give The Scottish National Party extra legitimacy to repeat their referendum plebiscite in 2020.
The odds of a majority of parliament seats by other party than Conservatives and Labour are currently 65.99x. More importantly, the odds of no overall majority being achieved in the election are 2.47x.
What Do The Latest Polls Say?
The last few weeks have seen a gradual strengthening of the Conservatives’ position in most opinion polls, while Labour’s average rating has stayed flat and kept them at a distant second place, around 10 points ahead of the Liberal Democrats.
Although survey data points to a clear Boris Johnson’s victory, it should be recalled that Theresa May was sitting even prettier when she called the 2017 vote, before a surprisingly strong performance from Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn upended the predictions and forced a close result. Corbyn is historically a good campaigner, and if the numbers are tight again, his party has the benefit of having more potential coalition partners than the Conservatives.
You can stay up to date with the BBC News’ general election poll tracker here.
Disparity in different polls shows the electorate is highly volatile at the moment. Pollsters agree that traditional party loyalties are fracturing, and that voters are defining themselves more along how they feel about Brexit, the biggest event in UK politics in recent years. This makes the election result much more exciting to predict.
It may seem like the safest bet to say that the majority party will be the Conservatives, but anyone who takes into account what happened in previous elections will probably have doubts. In the same way, thinking that no party will win an overall majority may seem feasible too, but if the British finally decide to vote together for a practicable Brexit or, on the contrary, against Johnson’s deal moving forward, this could boost both Tories or Labour seats in Westminster.
The stage is set for a month-long campaign for all parties and, above all, between two totally different ways of approaching the main issue that the British public has been dealing with for more than 3 years: the country leaving the EU. The next Parliament majority (or lack thereof) will determine the nation’s future and a lot of market moves are expected during the weeks you will be able to predict the result of what is undoubtedly the most uncertain UK election in decades.