Conservative leadership bid

Theresa May will take over as the next British prime minister on Wednesday, incumbent David Cameron has said. The swift handover of power came after her only rival, Andrea Leadsom, pulled out of the race to become the next leader of the rulling Conservative party..

Key points

  • David Cameron says he will offer his formal resignation to the Queen on Wednesday

  • 1922 committee confirms Theresa May as new leader of the Conservative party, making her prime minister-elect

  • Andrea Leadsom withdraws from Tory leadership race, saying period of uncertainty “highly undesirable”

  • Labour’s Angela Eagle begins formal challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership

  • Lib Dems, Greens call for early general election


Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May attends a press conference in London

Boris Johnson will not be running to replace David Cameron, but Michael Gove will. He’ll face new favourite home secretary Theresa May – and a handful of others.

Key points

  • Boris Johnson pulls out of the race for Tory party leadership

  • Michael Gove launched surprise run

  • May, Leadsom, Fox and Crabb launch candidacy

  • Bank of England governor hints at more monetary easing, warning of a “materially slower” growth

  • FTSE 100 closes at highest since Aug 2015; Gilt yields fall negative for first time ever


EU summit after British referendum to leave bloc

European leaders met today to discuss the UK’s fate after it voted to leave the EU. The British prime minister, however, was not among them.

Back home the attention was on the twin battles to lead the country’s major political parties.

Key points

  • David Cameron called on Jeremy Corbyn to step down as Labour leader “for the national interest”

  • François Hollande said London should lose the right to clear euro-denominated trades

  • Liam Fox threw his hat into the ring in the Tory leadership contest; Tom Watson said that he would not enter a Labour contest

  • Stephen Crabb launched bid for Tory party leadership

  • The FTSE 100 recovered all post-Brexit losses

  • Sterling was steady at $1.35



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.



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


Danny Alexander is in tiggerish mood as he poses for photographs by the banks of the sparkling river Ness at the foot of the Scottish highlands.

The Lib Dem Treasury chief secretary is giving what could be one of his last ever major interviews as an MP – an Ashcroft poll undertaken in February showed him 29 points behind the SNP.

Danny Alexander in Inverness

Gary Doak/FT

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The Scottish polls aren’t moving. Since Ipsos Mori shocked political observers at the end of October by showing a 29-point lead for the SNP, Labour have looked on course to lose dozens of seats to the Nationalists, perhaps ridding them of a Westminster majority.

This has unsurprisingly been seen as a disaster for Labour, and in the long run it probably is. But in the aftermath of what could be an incredibly tight general election result, Ed Miliband’s party might have managed to manoeuvre itself into a very strong position.

FT seat projection  Read more

Mark Garnier is a brave breed of Tory MP. The former fund manager and member of the Treasury select committee has spoken out in the past in defence of banks being able to set their own bonuses. And now he is making a rare warning from within the Tory party about the destabilising effect of an EU referendum.

Mark Garnier

Garnier’s background in the City means he is closer than most to mainstream opinion among financial services businesses in the UK. And he thinks investors are already moving money elsewhere:

If [investors] have to make an investment decision, then that is reliant on getting access to [the] single market — that money is being spent in Frankfurt, Madrid or Paris right now, not London.

  Read more

For the last 10 years, Hope Not Hate has been one of the more effective anti-racism campaign groups around, achieving particular success in helping defeat the BNP in Barking at the last election.


But for the next few months at least, the group has a different, more mainstream enemy in its sights: Ukip. It is a significant shift of strategy for the group, and one which some from both inside and outside the organisation are unhappy about.

Nick Lowles, HNH’s founder, has told us his activists are planning to an extensive – and expensive – campaign in over 300 constituencies in the run up to May, focusing mainly in places where Ukip hopes to win seats.

He told the FT: Read more

Nick Clegg in Eastleigh

Nick Clegg celebrates the Eastleigh byelection result

For well over a year, the Liberal Democrats have told supporters, commentators and their own MPs that they will fare better than their national poll ratings suggests.

At next year’s election, argue Nick Clegg’s strategists, the party will do well in areas they already have MPs, particularly given most of them are Tory-Lib Dem marginals, where the coalition of voters they have forged will stay with them for fear of letting the Tories in. This will let them retain about 40 of their 57 seats, think those at the top of the party, allowing for heavy losses to Labour in the north. Read more

One of the most frequent criticisms of the campaign against Scottish independence is that it can come across as high-handed and patronising. Number 10 has been particularly alert to the danger of southern Tories leading the campaign for exactly that reason. David Cameron said in January:

I humbly accept that while I am sure there are many people in Scotland who would like to hear me talk about this issue, my appeal doesn’t stretch to every single part.

Given that sensitivity, you might be surprised at the latest attempt by the UK government to appeal to Scots thinking of voting no. Read more

Four polls have been published in the last 24 hours, all suggesting the same thing: the race for next year’s general election is now neck and neck.

Of course it is a symbolic moment that two of these polls show the Tories two points ahead – they are the first polls to put the governing party in the lead since early 2012. But within the margin of error, the race is essentially tied.

So what has happened in the last few days and weeks to cause Labour to slip from a pretty steady five point lead?

Unfortunately, the Lord Ashcroft poll can’t tell us, as it is the first in a series and so has no previous survey against which we can accurately monitor trends. Even more frustratingly, the ICM and the Populus polls seem to suggest very differing reasons for the poll move. Read more

Nigel Farage in Scotland

Nigel Farage in Scotland last year

Nigel Farage is in Edinburgh today, trying to improve his party’s reputation north of the border.

He is unlikely to receive a warm reception, even if it doesn’t go as badly as last time, when he was forced (!) to barricade himself in a pub when surrounded by dozens of anti-Ukip protesters telling him to “Go home to England.” Read more

The Sunday Times’ front page this weekend will have surprised many people who are watching the Scottish referendum campaign with interest. The paper reported a new poll by Panelbase showing a bump for the independence campaign. Their headline read: Read more

With two months to go until the European elections, the leaders of the Liberal Democrats and the UK Independence Party went head-to-head tonight in a live televised debate on the issue of Britain’s membership of the EU. This was the FT’s live coverage. By Kiran Stacey

20.50 Well there we have it. A clear win for Nigel Farage in the first Europe debate, if not necessarily for those who want the UK to leave the EU. Both sides will try to claim victory in the coming days though – and the real test will come on May 22 at the European elections. Read more

Stanley Johnson

The comments of Stanley Johnson about the Tory leadership prospects of his son Boris in this morning’s papers have made something of a stir. The London mayor’s father was quoted in the FT and the Guardian saying the Tories should change their leadership rules to allow Boris to run even if he wasn’t an MP at the time, a proposal that has been attacked by many in the party.

But it is Stanley’s comments on Boris’ views on Europe that might have a more long-term effect on his son’s leadership credentials. He told an audience of pro-European Tories (of which he is one):

Boris is a very good European, I can tell you that.

 Read more

Ed Miliband’s op-ed for the FT today on Europe has finally crystallised what each of the parties’ European position will be going into next year’s election. But anyone listening to Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary on the Today programme this morning would be forgiven for not understanding exactly what Labour’s position is. This is what he said:

The next Labour government will legislate for a lock that guarantees there cannot be a transfer of power from Britain to the European Union in the future without that in/out referendum. It’s an agenda for reform in Europe, not immediate exit from Europe.

So what does this mean, and how does it compare to the other two parties? Read more

For many years, and most noticeably during the tenure of Tony Blair, the UK used to pride itself on acting as a bridge between its partners in the EU and the US.

In the run up to today’s European summit in Brussels, it looked like David Cameron was trying to play the same role. The prime minister struck a powerful note this morning as he entered the Justus Lipsius building, telling journalists he would be there in Ukraine’s “hour of need”, adding:

This matters to people in Britain because we benefit from a world in which countries obey the rules and we also benefit when we enable people like those in Ukraine being able to choose their own future.

 Read more

Pro-Russian troops in Crimea

Pro-Russian troops in Crimea

As MPs return to Westminster after a tumultuous weekend in Ukraine, recriminations are flying around parliament over who is to blame for allowing Putin to deploy his military forces in Crimea.

For some Tory MPs, the person most at fault is Ed Miliband. By leading his MPs in voting against action in Syria (which would also have meant taking on Russia), he made any western military threat we could issue impotent, they argue. Here, for example, is Sajid Javid, the Treasury minister: Read more

David Cameron visit flood-hit SomersetThe prime minister surprised the Westminster press corps yesterday when he held a press conference to spell out his action to tackle flooding. It wasn’t just the press conference that surprised – it has been 238 days since his last at Downing Street – but what he said. He told reporters:

Money is no object in this relief effort. Whatever money is needed for, it will be spent.

He repeated that pledge at today’s PMQs, promising a string of spending measures to help relieve the burden on families and businesses. They include: Read more