So yet again the Pollsters have failed to predict the result of a national vote in the UK. At least on this occasion their polls came with lots of caveats but the bottom line is the result was the opposite of what most polls were predicting and therefore has come as a shock to the political world and the markets here and overseas.
Before we even have time to draw breath on the result David Cameron has announced that he is resigning and will be gone by the Conservative Party Conference triggering a leadership scramble for all those who want his job – and there is a long list. The process in the party is that MPs choose two candidates to go on a ballot paper to all members (150,000 people). In my view there is likely to be a campaign to stop Boris Johnson being on that ballot – why? Because even before he decided to go for Brexit he was unpopular with many Conservative MPs – now he has all the Remain MPs who suspected his stance was opportunism to add to that list. I suspect that Michael Gove and Teresa May will be the ‘stop Boris’ candidates for Remain and Brexit supporters but only time will tell.
What about Jeremy Corbyn? His lukewarm support for Remain has deeply annoyed many Labour MPs and the Remain results in Labour areas were simply dire. But there is little they can do to remove him if they wanted to. They know that he has the support of the majority of the Party membership and would win any leadership contest again. He is only likely to leave if he decided he wants to or if he loses an election.
Talking of an election, the new Conservative Party leader becomes Prime Minister – but without any personal mandate. His (or her if its May) position will be like that of Gordon Brown and they will come under enormous pressure to have an election to give their tenure legitimacy. I would say an election in the autumn or the spring next year is very likely now as a result. He or she will want their own mandate and will want a new five year term. And they will calculate that beating Jeremy Corbyn will be easy.
In the meantime politics and the markets will be in turmoil. Seat belts on.