Chance of No-Deal Brexit Increases, Likely UK-EU Free Trade Deal, Says Poll of Economists

TOPSHOT - Pro-Brexit activists march outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on February 27, 2019. - Prime Minister Theresa May will today face a vote by MPs over her newly revised Brexit strategy, which allows for a possible request to delay Britain's EU departure if her divorce deal …
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty

The chance of the UK leaving the EU in a clean break, ditching Theresa May’s EU-approved withdrawal treaty, has increased, according to a poll of economists conducted by Reuters.

“The possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit appears to have risen,” Howard Archer at economic forecasting group EY ITEM Club told Reuters after the median forecast for the chance of a no-deal Brexit had increased from 15 per cent in May to 25 per cent in the June poll.

The news wire service points to the increase being due to the frontrunners in the Tory leadership race — notably bookies’ favourite Boris Johnson — pledging to take the country out of the bloc on October 31st with or without a deal.

Mr Archer explained: “Many of the contenders looking to replace May as leader of the Conservatives and prime minister have stressed that the UK must leave the EU on Oct. 31 — ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’.”

A strong majority of economists polled also said that Brussels and London will eventually agree a free trade agreement, while the predicted second most likely outcome is the UK becomes a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) where it pays into the EU budget to maintain access to the Single Market.

The poll comes as the UK’s top civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill said this week that the country was in “pretty good shape” for a clean Brexit, with Chris Heaton-Harris MP saying in April that the UK was “officially ready” to leave the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.

On the continent, Calais chief Xavier Bertrand said in January that northern France was ready for no-deal while Deputy Calais Mayor Jean-Marc Puissesseau said in the same month that there would be no additional delays to freight transport in a no-deal Brexit. The European Union also announced in late March that it was ready for a clean Brexit.

Following the Brexit Party victory in the European Parliament elections, where the Conservative Party came fifth, pro-Leave candidates in the Tory Party leadership contest have put delivering Brexit by October 31st at the heart of their campaigns, with Mr Johnson saying that to delay Brexit again “means defeat” for the Tories at the next General Election.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.