A week in Brexitstan

2016-06-30 09:02
A man takes a copy of the London Evening Standard with the front page reporting the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the vote to leave the EU. (Leon Neal, AFP)

A man takes a copy of the London Evening Standard with the front page reporting the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the vote to leave the EU. (Leon Neal, AFP)

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London - A snapshot of key developments since Britain created a political earthquake by voting to leave the European Union last week:

- Britons vote "Brexit" -

On Thursday, June 23, Britons, many worried by immigration, vote 52% to 48% in favour of quitting the EU.

The UK is thus set to become the first country ever to leave the bloc after decades of suspicion over the aims of an ever-closer political union.

Turnout at the historic referendum is 72.2%.

- Stocks, pound tumble -

Early on Friday, Britain's surprise vote sends shockwaves across global markets as it ushers in new uncertainty in a world already plagued by weak growth.

Stock exchanges from Tokyo to Paris, London, Frankfurt and New York plummet, while the pound crashes 10% to a 31-year low. The euro also plummets against the dollar, while oil prices slide.

- Cameron resigns -

Cameron, who had campaigned for a "Remain" vote, says he will resign to make way for a new leader.

He says he will leave it to his successor, who will takeover on September 9, to trigger the formal process for Britain to leave the EU.

- Remainers in shock -

As supporters of Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) celebrate, the press reflects the divided nature of the country, after the "Brexit earthquake". Some call it the "birth of a new Britain," while others ask "what the hell happens now?"

A series of racist incidents, notably against the Polish community, are reported, which Prime Minister David Cameron condemns.

- Scots, others eye new polls -

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says a second independence vote is "on the table", while Ireland's Sinn Fein eyes a vote on uniting with Northern Ireland. In London there are calls for the capital to secede from the rest of Britain.

A petition is launched on an official government website calling for a second referendum. By late Wednesday it had just over four million signatures.

- Britain's EU man quits -

On Saturday, Britain's European Commissioner Jonathan Hill announces he will stand down following his country's decision to leave the EU, saying he is "very disappointed" but "what is done cannot be undone".

- EU seeks quick divorce -

"This process must begin as soon as possible so we don't end up in an extended limbo period," says German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker says: "It is not an amicable divorce but it was also not an intimate love affair."

- Labour party in crisis -

On Sunday, the sense of turmoil deepens as a string of top lawmakers from the opposition Labour party quit in protest at its leader Jeremy Corbyn's lacklustre support for the Remain camp during campaigning. "For heaven's sake man, go," Cameron says to Corbyn at Prime Minister's Questions in Britain's parliament.

- Euro 2016 Brexit -

On Monday in a second humiliating Brexit in less than a week, tiny Iceland beats England 2-1 in their Euro 2016 last-16 game in Nice, one of the biggest ever shocks in a major tournament football.

- Cameron's EU swansong -

On Tuesday at a tense Brussels summit, and Cameron's last, the 27 remaining EU members accept that Britain needs time before triggering Article 50 that will begin the formal divorce proceedings. They warn Britain cannot expect special treatment outside the bloc.

- Corby loses vote -

On Tuesday, Corbyn loses a confidence vote in his Labour Party, struggling to survive after a slew of criticism of his lukewarm "Remain" campaigning. He refuses to resign.

- Stocks recover, pound steadies -

Global stock markets start recovering from the unprecedented sell-off. By Wednesday the FTSE-100 stands above its level ahead of the referendum results. But sterling, while steadying, remains well down from its pre-Brexit poll high of around 1.50 dollars.

- Scotland lobbies Brussels -

On Wednesday, Sturgeon visits Brussels as she seeks to keep Scotland in the EU. Scotland voted strongly for Britain to remain.

Spain's acting premier Mariano Rajoy, wary of a knock-on effect in Spanish separatist-minded regions like Catalonia, says that Madrid would oppose any separate talks with Scotland on its EU future.

- Boris unveils PM bid -

On Thursday, a week after the historic vote, former London mayor Boris Johnson, who spearheaded the Brexit campaign, is expected to announce he is running to succeed Cameron as Conservative leader and prime minister.

Interior minister Theresa May, known as a hardliner on immigration, will also launch her bid to succeed David Cameron, vowing to unite divided Britain.

Work and pensions minister Stephen Crabb and right-wing former defence minister Liam Fox are also likely to run. A winner will be announced in September.

Read more on:    brexit

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