"Secret polls" show New Democracy leading in Greece

Market surges amid rumours of Syriza loss.

Polling in Greece is banned in the two weeks leading up to an election, so we have very little information as to what the likely outcome of the 17 June vote will be. It will definitely be New Democracy, the conservative party, and Syriza, the radical left, in the top two places; and the margin is unlkely to be more than 3 per cent either way. But beyond that, everything is very up in the air.

Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal, however, points out that the Greek stock market has surged today:

He says:

According to Greek stock market participants, there are "secret polls" that show the pro-bailout New Democracy party is leading and likely to win this Sunday's election. Technically, polling is banned for the two weeks prior to the election, but the parties and so forth are still keeping tabs on the mood of the electorate, and these polls can get out. 

Furthermore, Greek betting sites have shown also a spike in bets placed on New Democracy, and this too is seen as evidence of a shift. So traders like the stability of the pro-bailout, conservative New Democracy party over the chaos of the left-wing Syriza party, and thus at least right now are speculating that the status quo wll remain.

All of this is to be taken with the biggest grain of salt possible, of course. It's an inference from an inference – no one is on the record as having actually seen these polls and it's all too easy for a rumour like this to become self-sustaining. But the market is hungry for information from Greece, and any will do.

A Greek worker adjusts flags before a speech by the leader of Pasok, the party in third place. Credit: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Our new relationship with the EU may be a lot like the old one

For all the tough mood music, Theresa May has left room for concessions.

I'm sad and dismayed, but that's democracy for you.

The Mail is in a cheerier mood. "Freedom!" is their splash. "Dear EU, We're Leaving You" cheers the Express' while "Dear EU, it's time to go" is the Mirror's splash. "Dover & Out!" roars the Sun, who have projected those same words on the white cliffs of, you guessed it, Dover. "May Signs Us Out!" is the Metro's take.

"Brexit begins" is the i's more equivocal splash, "The eyes of history are watching" is the Times' take, while the Guardian opts for "Today Britain steps into the unknown".

The bigger story isn't the letter but its content, which leads the FT: "May signs historic Brexit letter and opens way for compromise". The government is finessing its red line on the competence of the European Court of Justice. (The word in Whitehall is that Theresa May hadn't grasped the importance of the ECJ as an arbitration mechanism after Brexit and for cross-border matters such as flights when she made her conference speech.)  And the PM has done a good job of not ruling out continuing payments to the European Union, her best path to the deal Britain needs.

A lot depends on what happens to the British economy between now and March 2019. The pound is down still further today but whether that's a minor eruption or the start of sustained losses will have significant consequences on how painful Britain's best path to the access we need to the single market - paying over the odds for the parts of membership that the British government wants to keep and swallowing that £50bn divorce bill - is doable or not.

For all the mood music emanating from May, she's quietly done a good job of clearing the obstacles to a deal where Britain controls its own immigration policy, continues to staff Europol and to participate in European-wide research, the bulk of our regulation is set by Brussels de facto if not de jure and we pay, say £250m a week into Brussels.

Our new relationship with the EU may be rather closer to our old one than we currently expect.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.