British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to face European Union leaders Tuesday to discuss the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc, in what is already shaping up to be a messy divorce.
Already the parties are at odds with how to proceed – Cameron is insisting that the terms of the separation be struck before the country invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will officially put the separation process in motion. But European leaders want the article triggered immediately, saying the divorce terms should be agreed after.
Here’s the rundown:
What now? Cameron and UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who became the face of the leave campaign, are attending a special meeting of the EU parliament in Brussels. Farage was given a hostile reception, dubbed a “liar” without “an ounce of decency.”
Could there be another vote? It looks unlikely. Even though a referendum result is not legally binding, the government would become very unpopular if it ignored the will of the people. Die-hard remainers are trying anyway, with almost 4 million people signing a petition calling for a second vote.
Can the Leave camp deliver? Leading politicians in the campaign to pull the UK out of the European Union appeared to back pedal Monday – particularly on money for health care.
What does the EU think? Leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have made it clear they want the separation to move as soon as possible and warned the UK it can’t cherry pick EU privileges while shirking responsibilities.
Spike in racism? Police are investigating allegations of racist abuse in the wake of the vote, and people have taken to social media to express their disgust and alarm.
So who’s going to lead Britain now? Although nothing is set in stone, former London Mayor Boris Johnson is a serious contender to succeed Cameron. He has tried to reassure “Remain” voters, saying bridges must be built.
Market jitters: European stocks and the pound were hammered Monday, though they showed signs of recovery Tuesday. Nonetheless, Britain lost its top-notch credit ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, while Moody’s changed its outlook on Britain to “negative.” UK Treasury chief George Osborne broke the bad news that a Brexit would mean spending cuts and higher taxes for Britain,
Brexit political turmoil: A swathe of senior opposition Labour Party MPs resigned from Labour’s shadow cabinet and a prominent member was sacked in the wake of the referendum. There are calls for new leadership but party leader Jeremy Corbyn won’t resign.
Will the UK break up? Following the seismic vote, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that the Scottish Parliament could yet veto the decision to leave the EU and wants to put a Scottish independence vote on the table.
It’s going to take about two years for the divorce proceedings: The UK is so intricately entwined with the EU, it could even take longer than that.
What does the Brexit mean for you? That depends on who you are.
Journalist Dave Gilbert contributed to this report from London.