Odds of Brexit Deal Rise as 2 Most Recent UK Polls Show Lib Dems vs Labour Split


The strategies of Labour and the Lib Dems show they will split the Remain vote. This greatly enhances the odds of a deal

Clear Choice

Two UK political parties provide a clear choice.

  • Brexit Party: Nigel Farage wants to Leave with No Deal
  • Liberal Democrats: Jo Swinson wants to Remain with No Referendum by Canceling Article 50


  • Tory: Boris Johnson says he wants a deal but is prepared to walk away.
  • Labour: Jeremy Corbyn proposes to negotiate a "Soft Brexit" then allow a referendum on it.

Incoherent Policy

The National Review describes Jeremy Corbyn’s Incoherent Brexit Politics

Corbyn’s policy is that, if elected, he would begin renegotiating a softened Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU, perhaps considering a customs union, that he claims would be much better than the current one, or anything Johnson can put together. Once he got 27 nations of the EU to agree to this, he would turn around and hold another divisive national referendum, giving the people a final say on it. The two options would be the Corbyn “Remain Lite” deal or simply remaining in the European Union. Corbyn wouldn’t campaign either way, and likely wouldn’t oblige his party to campaign for the deal that he’d negotiated on their behalf.

May Toppled

Inconsistency helped topple Prime Minister Theresa May but Corbyn's stance now serves only to wreck Labour.

It also does a hard split of the Remain voters.

Corbyn's Approval Rating Lowest of Any Opposition Leader Since 1977

Jeremy Corbyn has received the lowest leadership satisfaction rating for any opposition leader, with a whopping 76 percent of Britons revealing they are dissatisfied with the way is doing his job. Just 16 percent said they were satisfied, according to an Ipsos MORI poll published today. Even 41 percent of Labour party supporters said they were dissatisfied with Mr Corbyn’s leadership, compared to 51 percent who say they are satisfied.

Not an Option: Really?

As recent as late August, the EU insisted renegotiation of the backstop was impossible.

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Juncker Prepared to Dump the Backstop

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Not Juncker's Decision

Bear in mind this is not Juncker's decision. Every EU nation must agree.

Perhaps France doesn't. But perhaps France will not grant another extension either!

Benn Emergency Legislation

The Benn ploy that made its way through the UK parliament in sham "emergency" legislation requires Johnson to ask for an extension, even specifying the language.

However, The UK cannot force the EU to grant one.

And as I have pointed out before, never underestimate what a determined PM can do and how hard it is to force the PM's hand, even when the PM is an unloved minority.

Extension for What Purpose?

Say the EU grants an extension. What purpose would it serve?

Boris Johnson is a clear favorite to win the next election.

Even if by some miracle Corbyn won, there will still not be any resolution as Corbyn then proposes to negotiate a new deal with the EU, then offer a People's Choice vote on that deal.

Why would the EU elect to voluntarily march down that path?

It won't.

Thus we arrive at the correct conclusion as I commented Friday morning.

EU Ready to Deal

The UK is Edging Closer to a Brexit Deal (Might Even Be a Fair One).

The fact that the Remain vote is hopelessly split while the Tories are likely to pick up many if not most of the Brexit Party votes is one of the factors influencing the EU.

Hardly anything happens in the EU except at the last moment when deals appear out of nowhere. This happened most recently with furious infighting of president of the European Council and head of the European Parliament.

As I stated all along, the EU's seemingly hard stance "we will not negotiate the backstop", would not stand the test of time if ever it appeared the UK really would walk away.

That is precisely what happened.

DUP Shift

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Theresa May only had a coalition because of 10 DUP seats.

Still, it will be difficult for Johnson to dump DUP even though 10 votes don't mean what they used to.

However, once DUP shifted it stance, Ireland was prepared to shift its stance.

The Guardian reports Arlene Foster Signals DUP Shift on Northern Ireland Border Issue.

The Democratic Unionist party’s leader, Arlene Foster, has signalled it is ready to do a Brexit deal, indicating for the first time a willingness to accept a bespoke solution for Northern Ireland.

She was speaking just hours before she held an “unplanned” meeting with the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, amid signs of a Brexit thaw between Belfast and Dublin.

In a break with previous rhetoric where she has strongly opposed treating the region differently to the rest of the UK, Foster said the final deal would have to recognise Northern Ireland’s unique historical and geographical position and the fact it will be the UK’s only land border with the EU.

Asked by reporters if it was possible to see Northern Ireland-only solutions that would not affect the constitutional link with Great Britain, she replied: “Well I hope so.”

That, combined with other comments she made before a dinner with business executives in Dublin, will be seen as pushing the door ajar for a deal.

The 45-minute meeting with Varadkar was fitted it in unexpectedly afterwards. “They discussed Brexit and the need for the restoration of devolution [at Stormont],” said the DUP.


It was the shift by DUP that in turn shifted both Juncker and more importantly the Irish taoiseach (prime minister), Leo Varadkar.

Of course, the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier downplays movement. But this is what the EU always does.

The most important point now is a willingness to deal, by all sides.

The second most important point is UK politics.

The EU tried for a year to convince the UK that the deal with Theresa May was the best and only offer. It's fallback position was hope that the UK would chuck it all and remain.

Things Off the Table

  1. Outright Remain is off the table. The Lib Dems won't win.
  2. Starting the negotiation process all over with Jeremy Corbyn only then to offer a referendum on it (which could take another year) is off the table from an EU standpoint. Besides, Labour is unlikely to win.
  3. Extensions forever with the UK blocking or threatening to block EU policy and programs the whole time is finally off the table. France is sick of this and no doubt so are other nations. Since the EU requires 27 nations to agree to most changes, Johnson can threaten to block any new policies the EU wants. Everyone but Labour wants to resolve this quickly.

If you take all the things off the table that logically are off the table, one arrives at things still on the table.

Things On the Table

  1. No Deal
  2. Deal

Other than the Brexit Party, everyone seems to want a deal, but the UK three times rejected May's deal, and Johnson will not present it with the current backstop in place.

Good Enough Deal Requirements

  • The backstop must go.
  • Ireland must promote it.
  • Johnson must promote it.
  • The EU must believe it will get through the UK Parliament
  • The UK parliament must indeed approve it.

That is where we are.

Perhaps Johnson insists on things the EU will not accept.

In that case we are in a No Deal setup because Remain is off the table as is deal renegotiation followed by a promised UK referendum following the deal renegotiation.

Fair Deal

To get a fair deal, Johnson must get the EU to remove demands that the ECJ is the sole arbiter of disputes that arise.

After that, Johnson should seek a temporary WTO arrangement and despite earlier protestations, the EU is likely to go along. Germany in particular will strive for to maintain trade.

Binary Choice

The way Johnson can force parliament into a binary choice is by demanding the EU stipulate no more extensions as one of his requirements in the new deal.

Had Theresa May done that,or the EU insisted, her terrible deal may have passed.

We do not know what Johnson or the EU will accept but with DUP and Ireland on board, I do expect a deal proposal. Otherwise the EU would be throwing Ireland under the bus.

Perhaps there is a short 3 week extension to finalize the deal and get all the EU countries on board.

If there is a deal, a short extension is likely. Instead of granting the UK until Jan 31, 2020 as the Benn legislation demands, the EU might very well offer an extension of 3 week.

This prospect seems likely.

Understanding Important Loose Ends

In a No Deal setup, estimates are Ireland will lose 4% of GDP.

It does not matter if that is the actual case. All that matters is people believe it.

The EU will be very reluctant to throw a member state that far under the bus.

Meanwhile, the more talks that take place, the more likely a deal is.

Finally, the only way parliament can take No Deal off the table is by outright revocation of Article 50. There are insufficient votes for Remain.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (22)
No. 1-12

Mish, you put a LOT of effort in this article, so even though we're all sick, tired and disgusted by the turd that is Brexit. The media in Ireland and the UK are complicit and biased. It's like hearing nails on a chalkboard, every day, all day, for 3 years. But....Brexit has been good for one thing, now we all know who the enemies of the people are and we won't ever forget!


People have been treating this as though it is a game of chicken or bluff poker, who is better at psyching the other party out, etc. The EU has said all along that it is willing to negotiate, but that the British are just posturing, politicking, and not coming with proposals. The EU has said literally the past week that the British are finally coming up with proposals that have a chance of being translated into laws, and are thus willing to play ball and discuss. The EU wants to negotiate a deal, but only now has the stage been reached that people are actually negotiating and considering what type of legislation is workable and practical and may lead to a mutually acceptable situation.


The best Brexit analysis on the internet par none. Well done.

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

Among other things, you have addressed several questions I asked in my comments last time. Very fine. However, I am still not convinced about this radical softening of the EU. :) The outcome of Brexit is more important to them than a few vetoes or some tough posturing. You are suggesting that they will

  • essentially give up the backstop,
  • give up the ECJ thing,
  • exclude further extensions (and throw the British Remainers under the bus). And all of this in exchange for what? For things they could have got years ago if they wanted.

I see the polls a bit more nuanced as well. The Tories at 32-33% can just lead to a hung parliament. Their majority would be very far from sure as the Brexit Party is not destroyed in any meaningful way. Of course, the polls are going up and down like an elevator but that is true for everyone.


My issue with this analysis is really time left.... There is only 30 days left, but still nothing cooking... if there were some proposals on the table, then we would have leaks but none so far... if you recall, to agree on a new deal many things must happen in short period of time - approval by EU parlament, by heads of states in EU, by commons and lords in UK... plus additional laws needed in UK... I hope Boris's team clalculated to fit it all if EU agrees to the deal and approves it, but even so, a smallest delay will derail the deal before Oct 31. And this is how he put the pressure on EU - take the deal or hard brexit... Remainers also gave some unjustifiable confidence to EU about extention coming, but this also removes pressure from EU on accepting the deal... I bet on no deal with 70% now..


Excellent analysis!

I expect that although there is a sign of some softening from Europe, there's still more arm twisting to be done. Johnson keeps talking about "our friends and partners in Europe" to keep up the facade of us all being happy-clappy chums. The fact is that they pushed too far with May and were maybe even a little dumb stuck by how far she capitulated. The position is that no deal will involve a lot of pain for the UK but in reality, Europe can't inflict much more than inconvenience without royally stuffing up its own economies.

Once Johnson rolls up his sleeves and threatens to put the screws on the Irish economy, French & Spanish fishermen, etc. we'll ease out smoothly either with or without a deal. I can see Merkel being happy to sacrifice 100,000 car manufacturing jobs, she won't be there when the fall out happens, but the rest of them are too focused on getting re-elected next time round.

Time to get the gloves off, Boris. Get your elbows out and get stuck in before it's too late.


Actually, I think No-Deal is the most likely outcome for October 31st unless Labour dumps Corbyn and forms an alliance with the Liberal Democrats, and the alliance campaigns for full revocation of Article 50. However, this alliance is very unlikely, even if Corbyn is dumped.


Seem like plans Boris's plans are becoming clear now... They just announced speculations that the deal will be the part of Queen's Speech on 14th and voted on Oct 21st. So, assuming EU agrees on Oct 18/19 (and this is a binary choice unless they believe in extention) , UK Parlament will have 2 choices - accept the deal no matter what it says there, or no confidence and new election after hard Brexit (assuming delay is not requested) where, surely, Boris will win...

So, in the way, keeping the deal locked down until Oct 14, Boris puts EU and Remainers in difficult position to either agree to the deal or go with hard Brixet (assuming no extention is possible).. the choice is yours ... ha... smart move


Unless Boris can weasel out of the extension, or the Europeans veto it, then we will face an election with only one issue.

The Brits will be faced with three options:

  1. Trump and the stupid people
  2. 1960s Labour
  3. Anything else

Frankly, there are enough stupid people and Labour-forever to swamp the intelligent people, but I expect Boris will not win a majority and so the Lib-Lab pact will result. They will split the difference and call another referendum.

The referendum will be: keep torturing ourselves over Brexit, or wake up from this nightmare.

I predict Brexit will be over by Christmas.

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

Let's just assume that all of the speculation is true, and the EU position will implode to the point that they themselves rule extension out.

In this case, the binary choice (BoJo deal vs no deal) will be fine for Corbyn: Labour can vote for the BoJo deal without responsibility. Farage and the Swinson would both shout treason but they would have no grip on the major parties. The next election would be an open Corbyn/Johnson duel and probably not just about Brexit.

I could be happy with this outcome. I just think that it won't happen. If extension is available, then any deal will be rejected or amended with a confirmatory referendum (against remain).


Excellent article that will save me a ton of time. I am English but live in Spain and am sick of being asked to explain Brexit. I also trade for a living and teach others from overseas so all I need to do now is share the article/link. Well done, well thought out and sound reasoning: clearl a lot of time and effort went into it and its the least biased (either way) report I have seen, regards, Marc


Now that Lady Hale has ruled the queen to be a senile and gullible dupe of the evil conservatives the scorched earth tactics of delay and slander will continue. So, the prospects of a Tory promise to do a no deal if that is all they can do are back at the forefront, and the threats to the EU of a permanent UK veto in the halls of Brussels is back on the table.

A general election is looking more and more tangible if the EU approves it, and they have indicated they would approve another delay for an election, though the implication has been for another election on the article 50 referendum, not for a political reshuffling of the Parliament in London which is unlikely to mend the split in the UK no matter who wins.

I tuned in to Brexit only after Johnson was in power because there was light at the end of the Brexit tunnel, now I am thinking that this will be like the political cartoon showing Brexit dragging on another 30 or 40 years. Both side having defectors, impatience dictating changing alliances. If this goes into 2020 then both the UK and EU will be threatened with break up. There are enough people on the continent that are facing separatist movements of their own and who think Britain is enjoying far more leeway than they would have had. Meanwhile, the satraps within the UK (SNP and DUP Labour, LibDems) are enjoying their place in the media spotlight, encouraged to take the most inflexible positions they can dream up.

If the UK is still in the EU come May I expect the UK government and the EU to become extremely unstable, and if the UK is out of the EU by next May I expect Scotland will hold a referendum to leave and demand admittance to the EU possibly with Wales and Ulster, a break up of the union. And that would be a losing proposition for the Scot's and the EU as the EU has universally denied other break away provinces like Catalonia any hope of being allowed to join. Not to mention that Spain would veto entry for Scotland lest it face it's own dissolution, so would Netherlands, France, and Belgium since the Flemish/Walloon situation would be catapulted to prominence. Then there is Italy with secessionist movements of both Lombardy and the Veneto. If Scotland were allowed entry so would the others have a right to demand it. The fracturing of the EU would be pretty immediate.

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