What are the odds of the UK leaving the EU anytime soon? 20% say bookies.

BERLIN, GERMANY – APRIL 05: The former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at the CDU federal congress on April 5, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. The CDU, which is the majority partner in a coalition government with the German Social Democrat, is meeting to agree on its policy course ahead of European Parliament elections scheduled for May. (Photo by Axel Schmidt/Getty Images)

Has Jean Claude Juncker’s nomination pushed the UK nearer to an EU exit?

Maybe a little, but even so, it’s still fairly unlikely to happen during this decade. What are the odds?

First, we’d almost certainly need a referendum. Ladbrokes make that an odds-against chance before 2018, and if it hasn’t happened by then, it almost certainly won’t before the subsequent general election.

So, based on those odds, I am going to assign a 40% probability to a referendum happening.

Then, the UK population have to decide to vote to leave.

Let’s go with a 50% chance of a decision to exit. I don’t think that is a particularly generous assessment, given that it’s quite likely that the leadership of all the main parties will be campaigning for remaining a member. Most major business interests are likely to be on the same side.

So, taking just those two conditions together, we’ve got a probability of 0.4 x 0.5 = 0.2 i.e. 20%. Which is perhaps a little less likely than you might imagine had you been reading certain commentators in today’s papers.

For the first time, UKIP now favourite to out-poll Lib Dems.

 

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 26: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (R) and UKIP (UK Independence Party) leader Nigel Farage, hosted by LBC’s Nick Ferrari, take part in a debate over Britain’s future in the European Union, held at 8 Northumberland Avenue on March 26, 2014 in London, England. Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage will go head to head in the first of two debates about whether Britain should stay in the EU. (Photo by Ian West – WPA Pool / Getty Images)

 

Just over two years ago, Ladbrokes opened a market on which of UKIP and the Liberal Democrats would get most votes at the next general election. We made UKIP 5/1.  Today, for the first time, they are now favourites to out-poll the Lib Dems.

YouGov’s latest poll has UKIP ahead 14-8. Survation has it at an incredible 22-7.

There are many reasons for thinking that the Liberal Democrats will recover and UKIP drop down. But the lead that UKIP have had for many months shows no sign of diminishing right now.