David Cameron is to meet European Union leaders for
the first time since the UK voted to leave.
The UK prime minister will discuss the implications of the
Brexit vote and the way ahead at an EU summit in Brussels.
German, French and Italian leaders said on Monday there
could be no “formal or informal” talks on a British exit at
Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne has ruled himself
out of replacing Mr Cameron as prime minister.
He said in the Times that he had fought hard for a vote for
remaining in the EU, and though he accepted the
referendum result “I am not the person to provide the unity
my party needs at this time.”
And Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the UK must
remain within the EU’s single market.
Mr Hunt, who is said to be considering standing for the
leadership after Mr Cameron stands down, has floated the
idea of a “Norway plus” arrangement outside the EU where
the UK would enjoy the current trade benefits of being a full
EU member while negotiating revised immigration rules.
EU leaders reject informal talks with UK
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In other developments on Tuesday, Labour MPs will vote on
a motion of no confidence in their leader Jeremy Corbyn –
who has insisted he is staying put – while Scottish First
Minister Nicola Sturgeon will address MSPs over Brexit’s
implications for Scotland’s future.
As Europe tries to come to terms with Britain’s decision to
leave, Mr Cameron will attend a working dinner of EU
leaders after meetings with European Council President
Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-
He will not attend talks between the leaders of the other 27
EU member states at breakfast on Wednesday.
Mr Cameron is standing down after last week’s referendum
went against him. The prime minister campaigned for the UK
to remain a member but has insisted that the result must be
Speaking on Monday, he said a special unit within
government was being set up to lay the initial groundwork
for leaving the EU.
‘Swift and coherent’
However, he has said that it must be up to his successor –
who will be elected by the start of September – to decide
how to proceed and precisely when to give formal
notification of the UK’s intention to leave by invoking Article
50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Under EU rules, once this happens, the UK would have two
years to negotiate the terms of its divorce from the EU –
unless the remaining 27 members unanimously agreed to
extend the process. It must also decide the shape of its
future trading relationship with the EU.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a new UK
government must be given time to prepare itself, but EU
leaders have said the process cannot be delayed indefinitely
amid fears of “contagion” for an organisation facing multiple
economic and political challenges.
French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister
Matteo Renzi of Italy have emphasised the need to process
the UK’s exit as quickly as possible and focus on the
challenges facing the remaining 27 states such as fighting
terrorism and strengthening the borders.
The European Parliament will also meet on Tuesday in
emergency session to debate the fallout from the Brexit vote
– including a non-binding motion urging the “immediate
activation” of Article 50.
MEPs, who must ratify any final agreement with the UK, have
said they want to be “fully involved” in the process and that
withdrawal must be “swift and coherent” in order to protect
the interests of the wider “European project”.
After two days of sharp falls in the stock market and sterling
and political turmoil engulfing both the Conservative and
Labour parties, there is increasing uncertainty about what
Brexit will entail and the precise nature of the mandate that
Mr Cameron’s successor will be given.
Speaking in the Commons on Monday, former Chancellor
Ken Clarke said it should be up to MPs to decide the terms
of the UK’s exit and the blueprint set out by the Leave
campaign during the referendum – including quitting the
single market – should not be sacrosanct.
Brexit discussions at the EU
Tuesday: Extraordinary European Parliament session in
Brussels on Brexit vote 10:00-12:00 (08:00-10:00 GMT),
including speeches by Mr Tusk, European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker and party leaders, probably
including UKIP’s Nigel Farage. There is also an EU summit
(European Council) in Brussels, at which David Cameron will
brief the other EU leaders over dinner, from 19:45 (17:45
GMT), explaining the political fallout in the UK
Wednesday: Second day of EU summit will feature breakfast
talks between 27 leaders – Mr Cameron not attending. Talks
focus on UK’s “divorce process” as stipulated by Article 50,
and Mr Tusk will “launch a wider reflection on the future of
the EU”; press conferences in afternoon.
But Commons leader and Leave campaigner Chris Grayling
said the UK was the EU’s biggest customer and, as such,
negotiations would be a “two way process”. There will be
“real damage” to European markets if a “sensible
agreement” were not reached, he said.
In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hunt said the UK
needed to secure a “sensible compromise” on freedom of
movement rules as part of a broader agreement that kept
the UK in the single market – an objective which he said
must be a “explicit national objective”.
The British public’s concerns about immigration needed to
be addressed, he said, while it was also in the EU’s interest
to do so as it “faced collapse” unless the current
unconditional right of all its citizens to live and work in other
member states could be reconsidered.
He also raised the possibility of the public having another
vote on the terms of the Brexit deal or an early general
“Before setting the clock ticking, we need to negotiate a deal
and put it to the British people, either through a referendum
or through a Conservative manifesto at a fresh general
election,” he wrote.
David Cameron is to meet European Union leaders for