EU Council meeting after British referendum to leave the EU

David Cameron is at his final EU summit in Brussels today, where he vowed that the UK would not turn its back on its European allies.

But while German leader Angela Merkel wants to ensure the UK is given time to decide how to exit, the European Parliament is pushing for a swift end to uncertainty.

Back in the UK, despite overwhelmingly losing a vote of no-confidence from his fellow Labour MPs, Jeremy Corbyn has refused to step down as leader of the opposition.

Key points

  • The Tory leadership battle is underway, with Johnson and May the frontrunners. Work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb is also in the frame.

  • George Osborne warns of “prolonged economic adjustment”, says spending cuts and tax hikes needed

  • Sterling edges back after hitting a 30-year low on Monday, stocks bounce

  • Jeremy Corbyn has lost a vote of no confidence vote from his fellow Labour MPs

  • S&P downgrades the UK two notches, stripping the country of its final AAA rating

  • Nicola Sturgeon has launches a diplomatic drive to secure Scotland’s post-Brexit place in the EU

You can read yesterday’s coverage here.

 

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After a weekend of political ructions in both main parties, focus in the UK today has switched back to the economy and the business impact of last week’s vote. UK stocks are down, the pound is at a new 30-year low, while 10-year Gilt yields have broken below 1% for the first time.

But we have also seen a number of fresh developments inside the Labour party, where an attempt is underway to unseat leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Key points

  • Markets are rattled – with the FTSE 100 down 2.6 per cent, the FTSE 250 off 7.0 per cent, and the pound has weakened more than 3 per cent against the dollar to fall below $1.32 and set a new post-1980s low in today’s trading.

  • George Osborne, speaking for the first time since Thursday’s vote says government ‘must deliver’ on the result

  • Boris Johnson, who hopes to replace Mr Cameron, has backed BoE governor Mark Carney, and vowed to keep UK in the single market

  • David Cameron has given his first statement to the Commons since the vote to leave the EU. He ruled out holding a second referendum and made it clear any decisions on Britain’s future relationship with the Union would be an issue for his successor. Boris Johnson was not there.

  • The bloodletting in the Labour party has continued, with dozens of shadow cabinet members resigning

You can catch up on what happened yesterday here.

 

EU referendum

The UK political fallout from the historic vote to leave the EU is gathering pace, with the Labour shadow cabinet disintegrating and key Conservative figures preparing for a leadership contest.

In Berlin, the German chancellor Angela Merkel has attempted to rein in pressure from within Europe to force Britain quickly to trigger divorce proceedings with the EU, saying that rushing into an exit was unwarranted.

Key things to watch

  • UK political establishment in upheaval after Brexit vote

  • Mass resignations from Labour shadow cabinet

  • Michael Gove to back Boris Johnson for Tory leadership

  • First minister suggests Scotland could block Brexit legislation

  • Asset managers prepare to move staff out of London

 

EU referendum

The European political establishment has begun formulating its response to the UK’s historic decision to leave the EU, putting on a show of unity at a hastily arranged meeting of foreign ministers in Berlin.

Global markets lose $2tn of value in Friday’s trading – the single biggest one-day loss since 2007 – and are set for further volatility at the start of next week.

Key things to watch

  • “Core Europe” urges Britain to trigger exit talks through Article 50 immediately

  • French foreign minister calls for new UK PM in ‘coming days’

  • Merkel says formal talks should not “take forever”

  • UK commissioner Jonathan Hill resigns from post

  • ECB official: City will lose vital passporting rights outside single market

  • Sturgeon: second Scottish independence referendum process has begun

By Mehreen Khan and David Bond

 

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The UK has voted to leave the EU after a bitter and divisive campaign.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will resign by the time of the Conservative party conference in October.

Boris Johnson has said that the British people “have spoken up for democracy”. The EU was “a noble idea for its time,” he said. “It is no longer
right for this country.”.

Financial markets across the world are down sharply. Sterling has plummeted and banking stocks are taking a heavy beating in early trading.

Bank of England govenor Mark Carney has said they “will not hesitate to take any additional measures” to ensure monetary and financial stability.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has she will begin to prepare the legislation for a new vote on Scottish independence.

View the referendum night live blog

Key points

  • It is a Leave victory – see our interactive results page
  • Most of the country has turned against the EU with only London, Scotland and Northern Ireland delivering big wins for Remain.
  • Turnout was 72%, with 16,141,241 cast in favour of Remain and 17,410,742 in favour of Leave
  • Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will resign and that the new PM should be the one to decide when to trigger Article 50.
  • The financial markets are in turmoil, sterling has fallen dramatically and volatility is hitting other major currencies. The Euro is suffering its worst day ever against the dollar. Banking stocks are particularly hard hit.
  • The Bank of England has said it will “take all necessary steps to meet its responsibilities for monetary and financial stability.” Both the BoE and the ECB has said it is ready to provide additional liquidity if needed
  • Leave campaigners Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have said informal negotiations will now start on the exit.
  • Nicola Sturgeon confirms preparations for a new Scottish independence referendum

 

MAS_Cameron_Grab

Vist the current political and market fallout live blog

The UK has voted to leave the EU after a bitter and divisive campaign.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will resign by the time of the Conservative party conference in October.

Boris Johnson has said that the British people “have spoken up for democracy”. The EU was “a noble idea for its time,” he said. “It is no longer
right for this country.”.

Financial markets across the world are down sharply. Sterling has plummeted and banking stocks are taking a heavy beating in early trading.

Bank of England govenor Mark Carney has said they “will not hesitate to take any additional measures” to ensure monetary and financial stability.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has she will begin to prepare the legislation for a new vote on Scottish independence

Key points

  • It is a Leave victory – see our interactive results page
  • Most of the country has turned against the EU with only London, Scotland and Northern Ireland delivering big wins for Remain.
  • Turnout was 72.%, with 16,141,241 cast in favour of Remain and 17,410,742 in favour of Leave
  • Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will resign and that the new PM should be the one to decide when to trigger Article 50.
  • The financial markets are in turmoil, sterling has fallen dramatically and volatility is hitting other major currencies. The Euro is suffering its worst day ever against the dollar. Banking stocks are particularly hard hit.
  • The Bank of England has said it will “take all necessary steps to meet its responsibilities for monetary and financial stability.” Both the BoE and the ECB has said it is ready to provide additional liquidity if needed
  • Leave campaigners Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have said informal negotiations will now start on the exit.
  • Nicola Sturgeon confirms preparations for a new Scottish independence referendum

 

U.K. Voters Head To The Polls In The EU Referendum

It’s decision day. Britain is voting on whether to leave the European Union after a bitter and divisive campaign.

With the result too close to call, turnout is likely to be crucial. The Remain and Leave camps are pulling out the stops to ensure the maximum number of their supporters actually vote.

The referendum has pitted old against young, towns against cities, and split political parties. So all eyes will be on early returns in the north and later London.

We will be updating this live blog throughout the night, with the results possible in early Friday morning. You can also follow us on our Twitter account @FT.

Key points

  • Polls are open from 7am to 10pm
  • A record 46,499,537 people are entitled to vote
  • Initial indications from around the country are of high turnout, with many polling stations reporting queues
  • FT poll of opinion polls on Wednesday night put Remain fractionally ahead at 47% versus 45% for Leave
  • Sterling earlier hit its highest level this year, before retreating. Markets are braced for major fluctuations in the currency overnight given thin trading conditions
  • Official statistics released on the morning of the vote show that the nation’s population has hit 65 million

 

Political journalists have become exceedingly wary of pollsters since they called last year’s general election wrongly. Are they right to be? The performance of major polling companies in this referendum could make or break their reputations – get it wrong again and the fury of Fleet Street will be unconstrained.

But there’s good reason to feel that hacks should have learned some lessons too – the first being, properly understand what it is that you are reporting. Here are a handful of key points to bear in mind when in the coming days we consider the pollsters’ performance in this referendum. Read more

A screengrab taken from UK Parliaments P

Sir Philip Green faced MPs to give his account of what happened when he sold BHS last year to a consortium led by Dominic Chappell, an ex-bankrupt, who by his own admission knew nothing about retailing. The retailer went into administration earlier this year leaving future of its 11,000 staff in doubt and many of the 20,000 members of its pension scheme facing cuts to their retirement with the fund in need of a bailout estimated at £275m.

The flamboyant businessman’s appears in front of the parliamentary committee that last week heard a flavour of the internal feuding between management and new owners, including allegations a death threat was made against the chief executive and there plans to hive off assets before the retailer collapsed.

Key developments

  • Sir Philip said there is a plan “in motion” to resolve the BHS pension deficit

  • In a heated session, the retail entrepreneur avoided answering quite a lot of the detailed questions

  • But he does admit “unfortunately” he sold BHS “to the wrong guy.”

  • On several occasions during a near 6-hour hearing he accuses MPs on the committee of “bullying” him

  • He denies blocking a potential rescue bid by SportsDirect just before BHS collapsed

  • He hits out suggestions he was involved in tax avoidance and points out he and his companies have paid “hundreds of millions” in tax

By Mark Odell, Lauren Fedor, John Murray Brown and Lucinda Elliott

 

Hundreds of trade unionists from across Europe will descend upon Paris on May 28 for a rally in support of Brexit: by doing so, many are defying the wishes of their own leaders. The question is: why? The Remain camp has the support of all but a handful of Labour MPs and the biggest unions such as Unite, Unison and the GMB. They argue that membership of the EU has brought an array of protections for the environment and for workers’ rights. But millions of Labour voters – perhaps a third of the total – are still expected to vote for Britain to leave the EU. They consist of two camps, divided mainly by their outlook on immigration. Many blue collar traditional Labour voters will vote for Brexit in a bid to slow the flow of incomers entering Britain, as I wrote about here last week. Frank Field, a Eurosceptic Labour MP, has warned that the referendum could drive a “swathe” of Labour voters towards Ukip.

“Our open door policy, which began under Tony Blair, has pushed down wages at the bottom of the labour market,” he says. “It has increased the queues for health services and even more so for homes.”

 Read more

A vote for Brexit is likely to cost jobs, raise prices and see the pound fall sharply, the Bank of England has warned in its quarterly inflation report on Thursday in its most outspoken comments to date on the consequences of the EU referendum. For once the Bank of England’s quarterly inflation report is not about the forecast or the outlook for interest rates – which have been kept on hold – it is about the tone Governor Mark Carney takes today as he presents the central bank’s latest update.

By Emily Cadman and Mark Odell

  • Carney warns Brexit “could possibly” lead to a “technical recession”

  • Carney says the Bank “did not develop a full projection” for a Leave vote

  • Governor refuses to be drawn on any potential upside of Brexit

 

In the dying moments of the Scottish referendum campaign two years ago Gordon Brown electrified the unionist side with a heartfelt plea to Scots to stay in the United Kingdom.

Today saw the former Labour prime minister try to repeat the magic ahead of the referendum on EU membership. Read more

Are you worried about the woes of “generation rent”? Perplexed by measures to dampen the buy-to-let market? Eager to buy a Starter Home? Seeking answers on the housing bill, Right to Buy or Help to Buy?

On Wednesday April 20 2016 between 11am and midday (GMT), Brandon Lewis, housing minister, will answer readers' questions on housing and home ownership in a live webchat.

Moderated by Judith Evans, property correspondent

 

The housing crisis has reached the top of the political agenda, with even the prime minister, David Cameron, saying he worries about his children being able to afford their own homes.

Brandon Lewis, housing minister, will appear here on the Westminster blog at 11am on Wednesday April 20 to answer your questions on housing and home ownership in a live webchat. Read more

Pollsters should be more transparent about their methodology and more quizzical about people’s intention to vote, a wide-ranging review of last year’s election polling disaster has recommended – as well as suggesting that Britain needs fewer, but better, political polls.

Polling companies were left embarrassed last year by the surprise Conservative election win, which none of them had accurately predicted. Polls showed Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck in the run-up to the vote last May, but on the night the Tories won an outright majority with a lead of 7 percentage points in the popular vote. Read more

Experts pinpoint why online polls and those made by phone show wide discrepancy Read more

George Osborne’s eighth Budget comes at a time of slowing growth and with the government split over Europe. The chancellor needs to show he still has a grip on the public finances, while keeping Conservative backbenchers happy.

Key developments:

  • Economic outlook – growth forecast cut this year from 2.4 per cent to 2 per cent.

  • Public finances – debt to GDP forecast revised up from 81.7 per cent to 82.3 per cent for 2016-17.

  • Government spending – new annual cuts of £3.5bn by 2020.

  • Corporation tax – to fall from 20 per cent at the start of this parliament to 17 per cent by 2020.

  • Sugar tax – new levy on sugary drinks to tackle childhood obesity.

  • Capital gains tax – cut from 28 per cent to 20 per cent.

  • ISAs – limit to rise from £15,000 to £20,000.

  • Tax-free persons tax allowance – raised to £11,500, effecting 31m people

  • Higher rate tax threshold – raised to £45,000

 

What does the Bank of England think about the risks – or opportunities – of a vote to leave the European Union? On Tuesday, its top officials will face a grilling from MPs on the Treasury Select Committee on the topic.

BoE officials have spent months trying not to be drawn into the issue but in nearly three hours of questions ahead, govenor Mark Carney was repeatedly put on the spot. The Treasury Select Committee is also sharply divided between committed outers and inners who were all keen for material to support their campaign. Appearing are BoE governor Mark Carney and deputy governor for financial stability Jon Cunliffe.

Key points

  • Mr Carney says the BoE will not be making a recommendation as to which way to vote: “We will not be making, and nothing we say should be interpreted as making, any recommendation with respect to that decision.”
  • But in its written submission the BoE says that the settlement reached by David Cameron “addresses the issues the Bank identified as being important”.
  • He also categorizes Brexit as the “biggest domestic risk to financial stability”
  • BoE is not forecasting the impact of Brexit on either jobs or prices, Mr Carney says
  • There would “without question” be a loss of business in the City of London if the was to leave and can not negotiate mutual recognition to replace the current EU bank passport
  • Mr Carney refutes any suggestion he has been leaned on by the government to give a pro-EU view. “My signature is on the letter, these are my views”.
  • In a sharp exchange, Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg accuses Mr Carney of pushing pro-EU arguments. Mr Carney says he will not let that stand.

By Chris Giles, Economics Editor and Emily Cadman, Economics Reporter

 

Why is one measure of EU immigration to Britain nearly three times as high as the other?

That is the question Westminster’s Brexiteers are asking this week. The answer could shape the arguments both for and against Britain leaving the EU. Read more

In the next four months Britain will be inundated with opinion polls. As the Leave and Remain camps gear up for Britain’s first referendum on its relationship with Europe for four decades, the stakes are high.

But this time last year the nation also pored over an array of polls during the general election campaign, and yet those polls proved unreliableRead more