Brexit policy panel: June 2019


The UK in a Changing Europe’s Brexit Policy Panel (BPP) is a cross-disciplinary group of more than 100 academics from across the social sciences. It was created to provide ongoing analysis of where we have got to in the Brexit process, and to forecast where we are headed. A full list of members is here.
Members of the BPP complete a monthly survey addressing three key areas of uncertainty around Brexit: if – and when – the UK will leave the EU; how Brexit will affect British politics; and what our relationship with the EU is likely to look like in the future.

The key takeaways from this month’s survey of our panel are:

  • Our panel believe the UK is likely to ask for a further extension of Article 50, though less than half of our experts expect that the EU would grant an extension.
  • Our panel think a referendum and a no deal Brexit are seen as nearly equally likely, both at around a 50% chance of taking place
  • Our experts on the European Union think Margrethe Vestager is the likely next President of the Commission, just ahead of Michel Barnier.

The key Brexit question remains whether the UK and the EU can agree and ratify a withdrawal deal and, if not, whether the UK will leave the EU on 31 October.
Our panel remains extremely sceptical that any deal will be agreed between now and the new Brexit deadline: just 9% of our experts think this is likely.

Do you think the UK will leave the EU by the latest date of the current Article 50 extension period on 31 October 2019, having passed the withdrawal agreement?

  • Yes 9%
  • No 74%
  • Not sure 17%

We asked our panel to place the likelihood of no deal on a scale from 0 to 10. The average score was 5.1, suggesting our panel put the chances of no deal at 50:50.


The panel were also asked whether or not a referendum would be held on EU membership in the next 12 months – the average score of 4.9 suggests again a roughly 50% chance that a new referendum will take place.

If there is still no deal by 31 October, our panel think that the UK will be likely to request a further extension of Article 50. This is despite Boris Johnson’s repeated commitment that the UK, come what may, will leave the EU on 31 October. Some 69% of the Brexit Policy Panel expect to UK to ask for an extension; only 22% do not.

If a resolution has not been reached by the latest date of the extended Article 50 period on 31 October 2019, do you think the UK will ask for a further extension of Article 50?

  • Yes 69%
  • No 22%
  • Not sure 9%

However, there is much less clarity on whether or not the EU would be willing to grant an extension of Article 50: only around half (49%) think the EU would be willing to accept a further postponement.

If a resolution has not been reached by the latest date of the extended Article 50 period on 31 October 2019, do you think the European Council would support a further extension?

  • Yes 49%
  • No 25%
  • Not sure 26%

Our expert, polled just ahead of the formal stage of the Tory leadership contest, is overwhelmingly of the view that Mr Johnson will be the next leader of the Conservative Party, with Michael Gove seen as the candidate that will be closest to challenging him.

Who do you think is most likely to be the next Conservative leader after Theresa May?

  • Boris Johnson 58%
  • Michael Gove 26%
  • Jeremy Hunt 6%
  • Rory Stewart 4%
  • Sajid Javid 2%
  • Dominic Raab 2%

There has been a suggestion that any newly elected prime minister might call a general election, or that they may be forced into one. Our panel think that an election being called before 31 October remains unlikely. Only 17% think there will be a general election called before the latest date of the current Article 50 extension period on 31 October 2019.

Do you think there will be a general election called before the latest date of the current Article 50 extension period on 31 October 2019?

  • Not sure 22%
    Yes 17%
    No 61%

Another key issue is which party grouping, if any, the Brexit Party will sit with in the European Parliament – with other populist parties including Matteo Salvini’s Lega Nord, in their current small group or as an unaligned party. Our panel think the most likely outcome is that the Brexit Party remains in the EFDD.

Which grouping in the European Parliament is the Brexit Party likely to join?

  • EFDD – (Brexit Party’s current grouping) 46%
  • EAPN – European Alliance of People and Nations (Matteo Salvini’s new grouping, since renamed Identity and Democracy) 34%
  • ENF – Europe of Nations and Freedom (UKIP and Marine Le Pen’s previous grouping) 8%
  • No group/affiliation 13%

You can view the full list of BPP members here.

Disclaimer:
The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative.

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