Brexit vote throws markets, Tories and Labour into meltdown

Brexit vote throws markets, Tories and Labour into meltdown

Britain's decision to vote Leave in the EU referendum plunged the markets into crisis, triggered the resignation of the Prime Minister and sparked a coup against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Talk of a blue-on-blue war as Tories set their sights on who would succeed David Cameron has quickly been overtaken by events in the Labour Party as the knives came out for Mr Corbyn amid widespread criticism of his "lacklustre" EU campaign.

Amid the political bloodletting, there have been growing demands north of the border for a second Scottish independence vote, plunging Britain into yet another constitutional crisis and potentially spelling the end of the United Kingdom.

Here are the major events in three days that shook Britain:


  • Early Friday morning the Leave campaign declare victory in the EU referendum winning 51.9% of the vote - defying the pollsters and bookies who had predicted it would go the other way.

    As the UK wakes up to the news that it is severing its ties with Brussels it becomes clear Britain is deeply divided over the issue with Scotland, London and young people voting for Remain, and England, Wales and older people backing Brexit.

  • Choking back tears, David Cameron announces his resignation in a speech delivered to the world's media outside No.10 shortly after 8am on Friday morning, his shocked-looking wife Samantha standing by his side.

    The tearful PM said: "I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination."

    He said a new Conservative leader - and PM - should be in place by the autumn.

  • Stock markets tumble and the pound slumps to a 31-year low on currency markets as confidence is severely shaken following the Brexit vote, which the City had bet against. In a press conference choreographed to swiftly follow the PM's resignation and reassure the financial markets, Bank of England governor Mark Carney says he is prepared to inject another £250 billion to bolster financial institutions amid the uncertainty.
  • Chief Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson may have been victorious, but he emerges from his home in upmarket Islington after the referendum declaration to jeers and heckles. He later strikes an uncharacteristically sombre tone as he holds a press conference with Michael Gove at which the pair welcomed the vote and paid tribute to the Prime Minister and long-time friend whose resignation they had effectively triggered.
  • EU leaders react to the Brexit vote to state that they expect the UK to leave the union "as soon as possible, however how painful that process may be" and stressed there would be "no renegotiation".

    The bullish remarks come from presidents of the European council, commission and parliament, Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz, and EU President Mark Rutte, who warned any delay to Britain's exit would "unnecessarily prolong uncertainty".

  • Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, says a second independence referendum is "highly likely" after the Brexit vote. Scotland voted by a large majority to stay in the EU and she said it is "democratically unacceptable" for the country to be dragged out of the Union against its will.

    Just two years after the Scottish independence referendum which was supposed to settle the question for "a generation" Britain faces the prospect of being plunged once more into a constitutional that could spell the end of the UK.

  • Labour MPs Dame Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey submit a motion of no confidence in Labour leader Mr Corbyn amid widespread and fierce criticism that he is partly to blame for the EU referendum result. The move turns attention from talk of a blue-on-blue war back to unrest in the Labour ranks, leaving Mr Corbyn's position as leader hanging in the balance.


  • Jeremy Corbyn makes his first public speech after the EU referendum in central London where he insists he will stand again if he is challenged to a leadership contest.

    He concedes that Britons have valid concerns about immigration and stresses that EU renegotiations must put workers rights centre stage.

    While the knives are out for Mr Corbyn in the Parliamentary Labour Party he continues to be popular among members who give him a standing ovation.


  • In the early hours of the morning it emerges that Mr Corbyn has sacked Hilary Benn as Shadow foreign secretary after the MP told the Labour leader he has lost confidence in him.

    The move triggers the resignations of around half the shadow cabinet who all issue letters saying they have lost confidence in Mr Corbyn and call for him to stand down.

    The resignations plunge Mr Corbyn's leadership into turmoil and pose the biggest threat he has ever faced to his position.

    Most criticise his leadership and failure to mobilise and win over voters in the EU referendum campaign for their exodus.

  • Among them was Mr Corbyn's close ally Seema Malhotra, whose resignation came just 24 hours after she had stood alongside the Labour leader at his first speech following the Brexit vote.

    But adding her voice to the growing chorus of MPs demanding he step aside, she warned that Labour is "hugely divided and those divisions are growing", adding: "I believe that we need to recognise that we do not currently look like a Government in waiting."

  • Her stinging criticism echoed the concerns of many of her colleagues. Resigning as Shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander said a change of leadership is "essential" if Labour stands a shot of forming the next government, while Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said Britain needs "a strong opposition capable of holding the Government to account, helping to secure the best possible deal for Scotland and the UK and building to win any future general election". He added: "I do not believe that can be achieved under your leadership."

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