The weekend after UK voted Brexit

Labour party revolts with resignations from shadow cabinet members; French far-right MP Le Penn calls for 'Frexit' as Scotland mulls ways to remain in EU.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

A British flag flutters amongst EU flags ahead of David Cameron's visit at the European Commission in Brussels on January 29, 2016.

The weekend after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would step down after October has been a tumultuous one.

From bold statements about Scotland blocking UK's exit to chatter about a French exit or "Frexit" to a Labour party coup against Jeremy Corbyn by way of successive resignations of shadow cabinet members, it has been a gloomy Sunday.

The forecast for Monday does not look any better as global markets saw over $2 trillion wiped clean before the week ended and Moody's assigned a "negative outlook" to its AA1 rating for the British government's debt.

Here's a quick summary of some of the broader developments that took place over the weekend.

Labour's coup?

Cameron's decision to quit, Tories battling it over his possible replacements or a potential early general election all failed to dominate the news narrative as several of Labour's shadow cabinet members resigned in protest against opposition party leader Corbyn sacking Hilary Benn. 

Corbyn sacked Benn in the early hours of Sunday after The Observer revealed on Saturday the latter was leading a coup against Labour leadership. 

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in London, Britain June 26, 2016. (Reuters)

Benn, then shadow foreign secretary, had "called fellow MPs over the weekend to suggest that he will ask Jeremy Corbyn to stand down if there is significant support for a move against the leader. He has also asked shadow cabinet colleagues to join him in resigning if the Labour leader ignores that request."

Shortly after he was fired, Benn released a statement saying: "It has now become clear that there is widespread concern among Labour MPs and in the shadow cabinet about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of our party. In particular, there is no confidence in our ability to win the next election, which may come much sooner than expected if Jeremy continues as leader." 

Following this Heidi Alexander, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, also resigned with 'half of shadow cabinet' expected to follow. By Sunday afternoon, at least eight members of the shadow cabinet had quit, including Seema Malhotra, Gloria Del Piero, Ian Murray, Lilian Greenwood, Lucy Powell and Kerry McCarthy.


French President Francois Hollande has rejected calls for a referendum on leaving the EU.

“We have called for the implementation of a referendum to ask the French if they wish to remain in the European Union,” said French right-wing leader Marine Le Pen according to French media. “He responded ‘no’.”

According to, Pen said the EU would try to make UK’s exit as “painful as possible” so other EU states would not try to follow suit. This would increase the gap between EU countries, said Pen.

Divided Kingdom?

Brexit continues to create ripples across the UK as its constituent states examine questions of sovereignty.

Since Scotland voted in favour of staying in the EU with a margin of 62 to 38 per cent, Brexit could pave the way for a second independence referendum in Scotland. The first one, in 2014, saw 44 per cent Scots vote to leave the UK.  

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appears via video link on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain June 26, 2016. Jeff Overs/Courtesy of the BBC/Handout via REUTERS

Taking things a step further, Scotland is also trying hard to remain in the EU regardless of its own independence. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has gone as far as telling the BBC Scottish Parliament could attempt to block Brexit. 

But a more troubling situation could potentially emerge in Ireland. Ireland is divided between a Protestant north and an independent republic in the south.

In Northern Ireland, 56 to 44 per cent voters were in favour of remaining in the EU. The exit of UK from the EU could renew momentum for Northern Ireland to leave the UK and unify with the Independent Republic of Ireland. Read more here.

Fiscal impact

The vote also sent world markets plummeting and business organisations panicking. Global stock markets lost about $2 trillion in value on Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union, while the pound suffered a record one-day plunge to a 31-year low and money poured into safe-haven gold and government bonds. 

Rating agency Moody’s cut UK’s credit rating outlook to “negative” following the referendum and said the result would bring about "a prolonged period of uncertainty."

However, on Saturday, the Bank for International Settlements said central banks were ready to cooperate to "support financial stability". Central bankers gathered at the organisation's economy meeting in Switzerland discussed the implications of a looming Brexit.

Foreign financial firms were some of the Remain campaign's financial bankers as Brexit will prompt restructuring and fears of a possible recession; the scars of the one in 2007 remain fresh for most big companies. There are warnings that UK leaving the EU could result in banks and other businesses to move jobs out of the country and into states that remained part of the bloc. 

Now banking giant HSBC has said it will "move jobs to Paris [when] the UK leaves single market". Morgan Stanley estimates at least it would have to relocate at least 1,000 employees; JP Morgan Chase around 4,000.

Professor of industry at Aston University, David Bailey, warned of a "big uncertainty" for the auto sector following the 'Brexit'.

He said the UK must make a trade deal with Europe immediately to protect the country's multi-billion pound car industry and avoid high tariffs. He added without a deal, a return to the days when the auto industry faced a 10 per cent tariff on export is a big probability. The UK exports 77.3 per cent of its car output; 57.5 per cent of which goes to Europe.

However, Leave camp members such as Nigel Farage argue Britain was heading for a recession regardless of Brexit.


TRTWorld and agencies