Johnson's deal now '50/50' to pass parliament

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Boris Johnson speaks during press conference in the Justus Lipsius building during the European Council Summit in Brussels, Belgium on October 17, 2019. Photo: Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The chances of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal being approved by parliament have improved over the last 24-hours, according to analysts and bookmakers.

Investment bank Jefferies said on Friday that it is no 50/50 whether MPs will approve the deal in a crucial vote on Saturday. Analysts had been roundly predicting the deal would fall short on Thursday and early Friday.

Betting odds had also significantly shortened by Friday afternoon. The odds of parliament approving the deal stood at 1/1, according to comparison site Oddschecker.com, while the odds of the deal being rejected were 10/11. Those odds — which equate to roughly 50/50 — had come in from around 2/5 on Thursday night that the UK would leave by the EU by the end of the month.

“The odds of the deal passing now look higher than we thought yesterday,” David Owen, chief European economist at Jefferies, wrote in a note sent to clients on Friday. “At the time of writing, the momentum seems to be behind the government.”

READ MORE: How new Brexit deal could hit UK economy, wages and public spending

Boris Johnson and his team have launched a full court press over the last 24-hours to try and convince MPs to back the deal. The Conservatives need 320 votes to pass the motion but have just 288 MPs in the House of Commons. Johnson is trying to convince independents and rebel Labour Party MPs to endorse the deal.

The BBC estimated on Friday afternoon that Johnson had secured 302 votes, with 36 MPs still undecided.

European leaders have been putting pressure on MPs to back the deal by warning that the EU is not guaranteed to grant an extension if the deal is rejected. French President Emmanuel Macron said there would be “no delay unless there are some major changes” at a press conference in Brussels on Friday. Irish leader Leo Varadkar said: “Plan B is no deal,” according to the London editor of the Irish Times.