It's been a long 15 days since British voters decided to leave the European Union. The ramifications of the decision have rippled through the continent and the world. The pound plummeted and world markets took a hit.
Griff Witte, Karla Adam and Dan Balz reported from London:
The results came after 15 hours of voting, from the remote Scottish isles to the tip of Gibraltar. The outcome revealed vast divides — with massive victory margins for “remain” in thriving metropolitan centers such as London and equally resounding victories for “leave” in small towns, rural areas and struggling, post-industrial cities.As local authorities announced results, markets swung wildly between optimism that the country would stay in, the preferred choice of investors, and pessimism that Britain had just voted to get out.
When he announced his resignation the day after the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron said he had thrown "head, heart and soul" into the fight to stay in the E.U. His resignation spurred a battle for leadership among his Conservative Party.
Among the promises that "leave" leaders made to voters:
1) £350 million per week that had been sent to the EU will instead be spent on the National Health Service
2) Immigration will fall significantly
Former United Kingdom Independence Party Nigel Farage and "leave" campaigners Nigel Evans and Duncan Smith all walked back these promises when confronted on talk shows after the vote.
It wasn't just the Conservative Party that went into a tailspin after the Brexit vote. An overwhelming majority of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's parliamentary members voted against him in a no-confidence vote on June 28. He has yet to resign, despite some unsolicited advice from David Cameron: "For heaven's sake, man, go!"
On the same day, European Union leaders gathered in Brussels to discuss what to do about Britain. The result: A tough stance meant to discourage other countries from attempting their own exits. Michael Birnbaum and Griff Witte reported:
London cannot “cherry-pick” from the benefits of the E.U. without accepting its basic strictures, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.“Marriage or divorce, but nothing in between,” said Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel.
Bye, bye, Boris
Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London who was considered a favorite to replace Cameron as prime minister, withdrew from the race after the man meant to be his campaign manager, Michael Gove, threw his hat in the ring. In other words, Gove pulled a Frank Underwood.
Thousands of supporters of the "remain" campaign held a Saturday rally to demonstrate against the vote to leave the European Union. The protest came as nearly 4 million people signed a petition to hold a second referendum on the British exit.
A virulent oppoonent of immigration who helped lead the "leave" campaign, Nigel Farage resigned as leader of his U.K. Independence Party.
“I have never wanted to be a career politician. That is why I now feel that I’ve done my bit,” Farage said in a televised news conference. “I understand that not everybody in this country is happy,” he said. But “I want my life back, and it begins now.”
Just two contenders for British prime minister remained Thursday after Conservative Party lawmakers whittled the list: Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom. As Griff Witte reports from London:
The contest will pit the home affairs secretary, Theresa May, against Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom in a race that features contenders who were on opposite sides of last month’s European Union referendum.In a vote among 330 Tory members of Parliament, May was on top, with 199 votes, compared with 84 for Leadsom. A third candidate, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, was knocked out after securing 46 votes.