Brexit

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. The Guardian reports on what happens to the Conservative Party now, “David Cameron did not realise it at the time, but his decision to suspend collective responsibility and allow his ministers to campaign against him in the EU referendum, was the moment that the Conservative gloves came off. It wasn’t meant to be like that. At the start, four senior figures in the party, including the 1922 Committee chair and leave campaigner, Graham Brady, and head of Conservative In, Nick Herbert, set up a steering group in a bid to maintain party unity by laying down some ground rules. Back then, the mantra of Conservative advisers was for MPs to do their best to avoid “blue on blue” conflict. When Boris Johnson came out as a leave supporter, he promised that he would not be debating with the prime minister directly. The steering group never got off the ground, and a few weeks later the former London mayor was challenging Cameron to a face-to-face battle, allowing newspapers to depict the prime minister as a chicken”.

The reports adds, “For the Tories, the battle over Britain’s place in Europe had become toxic with both sides resorting to heavier-handed tactics day by day. The effort with which Cameron and his chancellor, George Osborne, tried to win makes the pain of the Brexit outcome all the more intense and humiliating. “This did get a lot more heated than we all expected,” said one remain MP, who argued that the ferocity of the leave campaign and its focus on immigration had taken him aback. A cabinet secretary said the personal attacks by Johnson and Michael Gove on their friend, the prime minister, including over his integrity, would not be forgotten. But the power is not in the hands of those who wanted Britain to stay. A leave campaigning MP told it from his perspective, saying: “The damage has been done by the way [the remain campaign] have conducted themselves. An awful lot of people are very offended. They have called us economically illiterate, dishonest, and little Englanders. George’s exercise last week was probably the worst.” The MP was referring to the day that Osborne unveiled a budget scorecard that suggested income and inheritance tax could be hiked in the wake of a Brexit vote. The chancellor called it “illustrative” but dozens of his own MPs labelled it a “punishment budget” and vowed to vote against it. And that wasn’t the only tactic by the Downing Street duo that leave campaigners felt went too far – spending £9m on leaflets delivered to every home, and Treasury report after report that was seen as scaremongering have left a bitter taste. Some MPs believe that this is the outcome that a clear majority of their party wanted in their hearts, whatever they said in public. “Brexit is the most uniting outcome,” said one”.

It mentions “Before the Brexit result, Cameron was preparing to have a domestic policy drive next week to reunite his party. There were three key areas to be used as a way to unite the Tories and drive a wedge between them and the real enemy, in many of their eyes, the Labour party: Trident, a policy to scrap the Human Rights Act, and Cameron’s life chances strategy. On Trident and the British bill of rights, Tories smelled Labour blood, knowing that both policies would force the opposition into taking positions that could sit uncomfortably with an important part of the working class electorate with which it needs to reconnect. Life chances was to be a cross-governmental effort, led by the Department for Work and Pensions, to improve the opportunities for the most disadvantaged in society. It was a policy through which Cameron wanted to dictate his legacy; reminding people that he began as a modernising leader who wanted desperately to detoxify his party and end an obsession with Europe. But it is hardly a unifying agenda for a party that has lost its leader. It seems unlikely now that Cameron will ever break free from his most significant act – a referendum that tore Britain from its European neighbours in a way that shocked the world. Like Iraq for Tony Blair, it is his record on the EU that is now likely to overshadow his premiership”.

In response to the vote in which a UK turnout of 72% was recorded, the pound collapsed and markets tumbled, just as the Remain camp predicted, “Shares plunged and the pound plummeted to a 31-year low as panicked traders reacted to the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the prospect of recession amid months of market turmoil. The FTSE 100 fell more than 8% within the first few minutes of trading on Friday, with shares in banks particularly hard hit and nursing their biggest falls since the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008. At the opening bell on Wall Street, US shares were down sharply, with the Dow Jones industrial average shedding more than 500 points, down nearly 3%. There were even sharper falls on bourses in mainland Europe, where economists said Brexit would hurt an already fragile recovery. After the heavy early losses, UK markets were calmed somewhat by David Cameron’s announcement that he would resign, and a pledge from the Bank of England that it would take any measures needed to stabilise markets and the economy. More assurances to step in where necessary followed from the US central bank, the International Monetary Fund and from finance ministers in the G7 group of big economies. The Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, said:“Inevitably, there will be a period of uncertainty and adjustment following this result.” “But we are well prepared for this,” he added in a televised statement. The Bank will not hesitate to take additional measures as required as markets adjust and the UK economy moves forward.” The G7 finance ministers said they would consult closely on market moves and financial stability and cooperate as appropriate”.

 

 

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