‘Brexit’ Briefing: European Union Meets; Conservatives Aim to Replace David Cameron

By Prashant S. Rao

Post Brexit EU

LONDON — European leaders are meeting in Brussels (but Britain isn’t invited). Lawmakers from Britain’s governing party are jockeying to replace Prime Minister David Cameron, while the opposition Labour Party is in turmoil. The markets look to be recovering — or is it a “dead cat bounce”? There’s plenty for you to keep an eye on in today’s “Brexit” news.

EU Meet on Brexit

Coming Up

• In Brussels, the leaders of 27 European Union countries are meeting to discuss the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the bloc. Not invited: Mr. Cameron. Britain will have to negotiate the terms of its divorce from the union, but only after it formally files the separation papers — a task Mr. Cameron has left to his successor. European leaders must face off rising populist sentiment, including calls for similar referendums in France and the Netherlands.

 Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, center, with leaders from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Poland and Greece, during a round-table meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. Credit Pool photo by Pascal Rossignol
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, center, with leaders from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Poland and Greece, during a round-table meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. Credit Pool photo by Pascal Rossignol

• In Britain, the process for choosing a new Conservative Party leader formally opens today. Nominations close at noon on Thursday. Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and a leader of the campaign to leave the European Union, is the favorite, but other possible candidates include Home Secretary Theresa May and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Rank-and-file members will choose between two finalists selected by Conservative members of Parliament.

 Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and a leader of the campaign to leave the European Union, is a favorite to be the new Conservative Party leader. Credit Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and a leader of the campaign to leave the European Union, is a favorite to be the new Conservative Party leader. Credit Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

• Prime Minister’s Questions, the weekly televised grilling of the prime minister in Parliament, starts at noon. (Watch it live here.) Jeremy Corbyn, as the leader of the biggest opposition party, Labour, gets to ask the most questions. But he has refused to resign despite an overwhelming vote of no confidence among Labour lawmakers.

 Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the biggest opposition party, Labour, leaving his North London home on Wednesday. Credit Sean Dempsey/European Pressphoto Agency
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the biggest opposition party, Labour, leaving his North London home on Wednesday. Credit Sean Dempsey/European Pressphoto Agency

• Elsewhere: Nicola Sturgeon, the top official in Scotland, will meet in Brussels with the European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker. Gordon Brown, a former British prime minister, is giving a post-referendum speech in Edinburgh. Members of Parliament will hear evidence about incidents of xenophobia and hate crimes since the referendum.

 The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, will meet with the European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Brussels on Wednesday. Credit Eric Vidal/Reuters
The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, will meet with the European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Brussels on Wednesday. Credit Eric Vidal/Reuters

The Markets

So far, they look to be recovering after falling sharply in the wake of the referendum result Friday morning. British and Continental European stock indexes have followed their Asian counterparts higher, and the pound is slightly up, after falling to three-decade lows on Monday.

What You Should Read

Secretary of State John Kerry, like many observers, has noted that a British exit might not even happen, a position that Gideon Rachman, writing in The Financial Times, also took. After all, Parliament could ignore the referendum or call a new one; if an early election is called, one of the parties could run on an explicit “Remain” platform. (My colleague Max Fisher has laid out some of the options.) The London School of Economics’s blog on the topic has a post on how Britain could maneuver its way to a second referendum.

If Boris Johnson — the bookies’ favorite — does indeed take over as Conservative leader and, by extension, prime minister, what should he do? Martin Wolf offers some advice in The Financial Times. Tina Brown, though, is no fan of Mr. Johnson. And Sarah Vine, a journalist and the wife of a leader of the “Leave” campaign, describes the hours after the referendum result became clear.

 Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels on Tuesday. The leaders of 27 European Union countries are meeting to discuss the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the bloc, and Mr. Cameron is not invited. Credit Philippe Huguen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels on Tuesday. The leaders of 27 European Union countries are meeting to discuss the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the bloc, and Mr. Cameron is not invited. Credit Philippe Huguen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In The Times’s opinion pages, Paul Anderson writes that Mr. Cameron may have held the referendum to heal rifts in the Conservative Party, yet the result has caused a schism in Labour. Thomas L. Friedman says the vote is not the end of the world — but it does show us how we can get there. And Sarfraz Manzoor notes that London and the rest of England are very different places.

#LondonStays Rally in London

On Tuesday evening, thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square to protest the results of last week’s referendum.

 The rally in Trafalgar Square in London on Tuesday. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times
The rally in Trafalgar Square in London on Tuesday. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

London, like Scotland and Northern Ireland, voted to stay in the European Union, while most of England and Wales voted to leave. More than 175,000 have signed a petition urging London to secede from Britain and join the European Union; that’s not politically likely, but London’s new mayor has called for greater autonomy.

At the protest, the mood was one of frustration. Will Hudson, a 30-year-old management consultant, said he felt he had to “be out on the streets.” Dominic Boyce, a 25-year-old drummer, said he “felt let down by humanity.” And Stephen Lock, a 64-year-old business consultant, described it as a “total tragedy.”

“I feel like our lives have been put on hold,” said Jessica Lee, a 29-year-old writer. “It doesn’t feel like a country I identify with anymore and that breaks my heart.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com

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