Bookmakers rate chances of UK rejoining EU by 2026 at 5/1

Festivalgoers wearing EU flags at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset. PRESS ASSOCI

Festivalgoers wearing EU flags at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset - Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Bookmakers have given their verdict on the likeliness of the UK attempting to rejoin the European Union.

Betfair now believes the odds on the UK re-entering the bloc by 2026 stands at 5/1, as frustrations around the Brexit agreement grow. 

By contrast, the firm believes there is a 10/1 chance of Brexit not being reversed by this point, a view reflected in polling on the rejoin movement.

But Betfair argues that the ongoing disputes over the Brexit deal mean it is an issue that will remain on the political radar by the time of the next election.

It follows Downing Street's attempts to downplay claims from businesses and fishermen that the deal has damaged exports and impacted key sectors.

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"It might fall to a new generation of politicians, in both main parties, to have the honest conversation about Brexit that's so far failed to materialise," Betfair claimed.

"Getting that done in time for 2026 looks tight. But five years is a long time - think how much has happened in UK politics since 2016 - and the market on the UK rejoining is worth watching."

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Betfair also gave the Tories a 11/5 chance of winning a majority in the next general election, on the caveat that the vaccine rollout continues to prove a success. It gave Labour a 3/1, and 16/5 chance of gaining a majority and a 6/5 chance of no party reaching an overall majority.

It also predicts that Brexit will remain the biggest factor during 2024 election campaign, giving it 4/11 odds.

"Perhaps Brexit will be the biggest factor at the next election... just as it was at the last. It's not going away and will continue to cause problems for both main parties. It remains to be seen which will suffer most and whether anyone will have the guts to advocate reversing it."

A report by several Conservatives last week claimed the Brexit deal had left the UK "less safe and less secure" and called for Boris Johnson to re-open negotiations with the EU.

Dominic Grieve and David Lidington, a former attorney general and de facto deputy prime minister respectively, led the calls.

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