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Live Updates: Blair Says "The Will Of The People Is Entitled To Change" On Brexit

The Leave campaign won the historic Brexit referendum with 52% of the vote.

Originally posted on
Updated on
  • Britain voted to leave the European Union in a historic referendum result that ended the career of prime minister David Cameron.
  • British chancellor George Osborne has said public spending will be cut and taxes will be raised after Brexit, and abandoned his "fiscal rule" to restore the government budget to a surplus by 2020.
  • In the past week, more than 50 members of the official opposition have resigned from their roles in protest over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's response to the referendum outcome. Live updates here.
  • David Cameron has called on hate crimes to be "stamped out" following reports that xenophobic crime is on the rise after the vote.
  • All of Scotland voted for Remain and leader Nicola Sturgeon has said the nation's parliament could veto the UK's exit from the EU.
  • EU leaders have said they want Britain to leave "as soon as possible" and see no reason to delay.

Updates

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Tony Blair has said Britain must "keep our options open" while negotiating its exit from the EU.

Speaking on Sky News' Murnaghan programme, the former prime minister said Article 50 – the formal progress that triggers a country leaving the bloc – should not be triggered "for as long as it takes" until a semblance of a Leave plan had been agreed.

He said the prime minister and chancellor should be "visiting every capital in Europe" at the moment as part of a "vast campaign for our national interest" to get the best deal possible.

While Blair said the referendum "expressed the will of the people", he cautioned that "the will of the people is entitled to change".

"I don't think you can override the settled will of the people, but my point is very simple: It's 52-48," Blair said. "Supposing some weeks or months down the line, as it becomes clear what we're moving to – because as I say the odd thing about the referendum is we knew what we were getting out of, we don't know what we're getting into – as that becomes clear, if it is clear that these terms are bad for us if we have major parts of business, and the financial sector saying this is not a good deal for us, if people start to worry about their jobs, we should just keep our options open.

"I'm not saying we have another referendum, I'm not saying you can revisit this, I'm simply saying there's no rule about this. We're a sovereign people, we can do what we want to do. Parliament of course shouldn't override the will of the people, but it is also the job of parliament to express the will of the people, and to make sure that they scrutinise carefully what this new deal might be."

Weekend editor Matthew Champion reports.

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George Osborne said Britain needed to be "realistic about achieving a surplus by the end of the decade" following its dramatic decision to leave the European Union.

The chancellor of the exchequer told the BBC the economy was showing "clear signs" of shock.

His remarks echo those of the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who yesterday described the UK economy as being in the midst of "post-traumatic stress disorder".

Prior to the referendum, there were doubts as to whether Osborne would be able to achieve his objective, which has been constantly referred to throughout his economic assessments.

Looks like Osborne cd work with May as he abandons fiscal surplus by 2020. Exactly what May called for y'day.

These are the chancellor's full remarks as he spoke at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce:

Now, as the governor of the Bank of England said yesterday, the referendum result is as expected likely to lead to a significant negative shock for the British economy. How we respond will determine the impact on people's jobs and on economic growth. The Bank of England can support demand.

The government must provide fiscal credibility, so we will continue to be tough on the deficit but we must be realistic about achieving a surplus by the end of this decade. This is precisely the flexibility that our rules provide for. And we need to reduce uncertainty by moving as quickly as possible to a new relationship with Europe and being super competitive, open for business and free trading. That's the plan and we must set to it.

Business editor Simon Neville reports.

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Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has given the strongest indication yet that interest rates could be cut to 0.25% in response to the UK's decision to leave the EU.

He warned that the economy will slow down following the result and urged politicians in Westminster to stop bickering and set out what the rules are likely to be to calm the markets.

He said: "All this uncertainty has contributed to a form of economic post-traumatic stress disorder amongst households and businesses, as well as in financial markets.

"In order to have confidence and plan for the future, financial institutions, like the rest of us, desire certainty."

Warning that the slowdown already started before last week's referendum result, he pointed out that several parts of the economy are suffering.

Even before 23 June, we observed the growing influence of uncertainty on major economic decisions. Commercial real estate transactions had been cut in half since their peak last year. Residential real estate activity had slowed sharply. Car purchases had gone into reverse. And business investment had fallen for the past two quarters measured…

It now seems plausible that uncertainty could remain elevated for some time, with a more persistent drag on activity than we had previously projected.

Business editor Simon Neville reports.

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The frontrunner for PM, former London mayor Boris Johnson, has pulled out from the race after his erstwhile supporter justice secretary Michael Gove unexpectedly declared he was also running.

Following the news, Johnson gave a dramatic press conference in London where he announced he would no longer be standing for the Conservative party leadership and the role of prime minister.

.@BorisJohnson says the next Conservative party leader "cannot be me" https://t.co/FA9byvkeUa

Meanwhile, the party is not short of candidates putting themselves forward for the role. As well as Gove, the home secretary, Theresa May, also launched her bid to lead the party on Thursday morning. Her bid has been well-received so far, with Chris Grayling, leader of the House of Commons, throwing his weight behind her candidacy.

Another announcement this morning has been energy secretary Andrea Leadsom's bid. A relative unknown outside of Westminster, she has taken part in both public accounts and Treasury select committees.

Yesterday, the secretary for work and pensions, Stephen Crabb, formally announced he would be running, as did former minister Liam Fox.

Senior politics reporter Emily Ashton reports.

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US president Barack Obama has said that the UK's unexpected exit from the European Union will "freeze" the possibilities of investment in the country and in Europe as a whole.

Obama also made an appeal for the leaders of the EU and the UK to make Britain's departure as smooth and orderly as possible.

His warning comes as the other 27 leaders of the EU meet in Brussels for the first time without the UK. Back in Britain, the two main political parties have descended into infighting as both jostle to appoint new leaders, or depose the one already in place.

Although urging calm, and warning for the long-term future, Obama said that in the short-term he believed that the global economy would "hold steady". Indeed, as of Wednesday, the FTSE 100 appeared to have bounced back up, although the FTSE 250 – a more reliable indicator of the UK's internal market – was still down.

"I think there are some genuine longer-term concerns about global growth if in fact Brexit goes through and that freezes the possibilities of investment in Great Britain or in Europe as a whole," Obama said.

"At a time when global growth rates were weak already, this doesn't help."

The president urged all engaged parties in the EU–UK breakup to "catch their breath". He continued: "I think that will be a difficult, challenging process, but it does not need to be a panicky process."

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The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has promised to listen to Scotland's case to stay inside the EU, ahead of a meeting with the country's first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sturgeon flew to Brussels on Wednesday morning and has met a number of senior European officials as she bids to keep Scotland inside the EU after 62% of Scottish voters backed Remain.

Juncker, who is due to have an official meeting with Sturgeon later on Wednesday afternoon, said Scottish voters had "won their right" to be heard in the European parliament.

.@JunckerEU now: "I'll listen to @NicolaSturgeon. #Scotland won their right to be heard in #Brussels".

Following her meeting with Schulz, Sturgeon said it was an "introductory meeting" to discuss how Scotland can maintain its relationship with the EU, and Schulz added he "listened and learned a lot".

Sturgeon said: "I don't underestimate the challenges that lie ahead in seeking a path and these are initial meetings so people understand that Scotland, unlike other parts of the United Kingdom, doesn't want to leave the European Union."

Scotland correspondent Jamie Ross reports.

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The seismic shocks from the UK's vote to leave the EU could result in the loss of 100,000 financial jobs from the City of London, according to a former MEP.

Baroness Bowles, a Liberal Democrat peer who was chair of the European parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee for five years, made the warning after France's president Hollande earlier took aim at the UK's financial centre.

She told the British Bankers Association's annual retail conference that while in the EU, the City can process deals in euros, but if Hollande has his way the EU could ban the UK from clearing euro deals, then jobs would be lost.

@SimonNeville I am from Newcastle and am happy to confirm this.

Baroness Bowles also warned that politicians will need to bring uncertainty to an end quickly, or stagnation and lack of longterm investment and could cause the UK to suffer and potentially slip into a recession.

"You can't invest in something that is so uncertain… The lack of investment does cause us to stagnate.

"If you're looking over 10 years [investments] caution is to the fore."

Business editor Simon Neville reports.

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European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and president of the European Council Donald Tusk have ruled out an "à la carte" version of the EU internal market in the Brexit deal with the UK.

Speaking to reporters after an informal meeting of leaders of the 27 non-UK EU states in Brussels, the pair said there would be "no negotiation without notification" that the UK intended to leave.

Juncker said:

What is important is that the 27, plus Donald and myself, were expressing that there would be no internal market à la carte, so those who want to have access to our internal market, they would have to implement freedoms without exception, and without nuances. We are expressing the view that the EU needs further reforms, but these are not reforms being contrary with what we are doing now.

When asked about the future for Scotland — which overwhelmingly voted to Remain part of the bloc — Juncker said: "I'll listen to Nicola Sturgeon. Scotland won their right to be heard in Brussels so I will listen carefully to what the First Minister will tell me.

"But we don't have the intention to interfere in the British process. It is not our duty, and is not our job."

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Rajesh Agrawal was appointed by Sadiq Khan on Wednesday, ending grumbling from the city that despite eight weeks in the job the new London mayor had failed to appoint a deputy.

The new deputy mayor's first task will be to sooth the nerves of the city's financial services district, which has been on edge since the UK dramatically voted to leave the EU.

"I know that Rajesh is the best person for the job of protecting jobs and growth in London as we deal with the fallout of the referendum," Khan told the Evening Standard.

As a city, London returned an overwhelming mandate to stay. Khan has used this to suggest London should be granted more powers, specifically over skills, infrastructure, and planning, in order to shield its powerful banking industry.

Agrawal is a self-made millionaire who was formerly Khan's business adviser during his successful mayoral bid.

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The EU's 27 remaining member states will say the UK's withdrawal must be done in "an orderly fashion", and that any future deal must balance "rights and obligations", according to a draft statement seen by BuzzFeed News.

The draft statement notes that it is up to Britain to notify the EU of its intention to withdraw, but adds "as soon as it is ready to do so" – a clear sign that EU leaders have accepted the UK government's position that exit procedures cannot be triggered until a new prime minister is in place.

"It would be preferable to do this quickly so as to avoid entering into a prolonged period of uncertainty", the draft goes on to say.

The draft confirms leaders' intentions that there will be no negotiations until the notification has been triggered, following the election of a new PM.

But the tone of the draft statement is warmer than many of the statements that have come out of Brussels since the Brexit vote last week.

Dutch PM Rutte gives delay on Art 50 triggering, because: "England has collapsed politically, monetarily, constitutionally and economically"

UK PM David Cameron: "There was universal respect for this decision. It is understood that it will be carried through." #EUCO

Europe editor Alberto Nardelli reports from Brussels.

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European Council President Donald Tusk said Tuesday that the bloc's leaders want UK's exit plans "to be specified as soon as possible."

His comments came on the same day British Prime Minister David Cameron met with EU leaders in Brussels to make the case that his nation needs time to formally trigger the the two-year window of exit negotiations.

Despite Cameron's appeals for patience, EU leaders are anxious for what UK's exit path will look like.

"We don't have months to meditate, we have to act," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, according to the AP.

Cameron acknowledged the sentiment regarding a clearer path forward, but said that there was no immediate timeframe in place.

Jason Wells reports.

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British diplomats are worried the sun may finally be setting on their nation's outsize role on the international stage, after the country voted to leave the European Union last week.

With its storied imperial history and a permanent veto-wielding seat on the United Nations Security Council, the United Kingdom has always punched above its weight diplomatically, more like a Russia or China than a long-faded world power like Portugal or Holland.

But the vote on Thursday not only marked the potential departure of the UK from the 28-nation bloc, but also signalled the emergence of a myopic, inward-looking era for a country long considered among the most influential in global affairs. British diplomats deployed around the world said they were stunned by the outcome of the referendum.

"Not surprisingly all of us are gutted and shocked and can't really believe it," one senior diplomat serving in an Arab capital told BuzzFeed News. "We are by definition internationalists. You want to play a major role in everything. And we got used to doing this through the EU over the last 40 years."

One current British diplomat said EU counterparts were commiserating with their UK colleagues, describing their reaction to the vote result as: "Jesus, you're a bit fucked. But let's try and get through this."

BuzzFeed News correspondents Borzou Daragahi and Monica Mark report.

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The decision on whether MPs should debate a hugely popular online petition that called on the UK to hold a second EU referendum, according to the British parliament's petitions committee.

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson said the decision was driven by a concern over the legitimacy of signatories.

"The Committee has decided to defer its decision on this petition until the government digital service has done all it can to verify the signatures on the petition. We have already had to remove 77,000 fraudulent signatures," a spokesperson said.

The petition, signed on the parliament's website, called on the government to hold a second referendum if either side – In or Out – won by a majority of less than 60% or if there was a turnout of less than 75%. Neither of the criteria were fulfilled.

The petition has generated huge coverage in the days following last Thursday's vote for a number of reasons.

As well as attracting almost 4 million signatories, it has emerged that the individual who started the petition is actually a Leave voter. William Oliver Healey, 27, actually started the petition before the vote because he thought the UK would vote to remain in the EU.

Even if the committee eventually agrees to hold a debate, it would take place in Westminster Hall – which doesn't have the power to change law or trigger a second referendum.

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Business secretary Sajid Javid has thrown his support behind work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb, speaking at a press conference following a meeting with business leaders to discuss the outcome of the EU referendum.

He also insisted the UK was "open for business" and said discussions had already begun with South Korea and Australia to set up new trade deals with those countries – although he confirmed trade minister Lord Price's assessment that the UK only has about 15 to 20 trade negotiations, compared with the US's 500.

Javid added that he would start a worldwide tour to reassure investors that they could still work with the UK, saying that Chinese telecoms giant Haiwei would still be investing £1.3 billion into the country.

Tipped as the next chancellor, Javid also suggested that the UK could keep a free trade deal with the EU without opening up its borders to migrants.

On following current EU migration rules, he said that "access can come in many forms. I don't think we can stand here and say that it has to work like that for the UK."

One business leader in the room told BuzzFeed News afterwards that a key and immediate issue for them was the status of EU migrant workers.

The leader said that for business "the biggest immediate priority will be the status of migrant workers".

UK business editor Simon Neville reports.

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Obama cautions against post-Brexit "hysteria".

View this video on YouTube

NPR

US president Barack Obama has cautioned against "overstating" the consequences of Britain's vote to leave the European Union, saying there had been "a little bit of hysteria post-Brexit".

In a video released by National Public Radio on Tuesday, Obama said he did not anticipate "major cataclysmic changes" as a result of British voters opting to leave the EU.

"I think that the best way to think about this is a pause button has been pressed on the project of full European integration," Obama said. "I would not overstate it. There's been a little bit of hysteria post-Brexit vote as if somehow NATO's gone and the transatlantic alliance is dissolving and every country is rushing off to its own corner. That's not what's happening."

The president said the vote reflected that the "European project was probably moving faster and without as much consensus as it should have".

Suggesting that if the UK were to negotiate a relationship with the EU similar to that of Norway, Obama said the average person would not "notice a big change".

Here are his full comments:

I think that the best way to think about this is a pause button has been pressed on the project of full European integration. I would not overstate it. There's been a little bit of hysteria post-Brexit vote as if somehow NATO's gone and the transatlantic alliance is dissolving and every country is rushing off to its own corner. That's not what's happening.

What's happening is that you had a European project that was probably moving faster and without as much consensus as it should have. You have a monetary union, although England wasn't a part of that, that was always difficult to manage because the economy in Germany is very different than the economy in Italy or Greece, and you have a European Union government in Brussels that, because it needs consensus from more than a couple dozen countries, often times seems overly bureaucratic and deadlocked.

I think this will be a moment in which all of Europe says, 'All right, let's take a breath and let's figure out how do we maintain some of our national identities, how do we preserve the benefits of integration, and how do we deal with some of the frustrations that our own voters are feeling.'

But the basic core values of Europe, the tenets of liberal market–based democracies, those aren't changing. The interests that we have in common with Europe remain the same, and our concerns internally are the same.

So, Europe can't afford to turn inward. They're going to have to worry about working with us on the Middle East, they're going to have to worry about us working together to deal with an aggressive Russia, they're going to have to deal with us in respect to how do we continue to uphold international rules and norms around the world that have served both the US and Europe very well.

And so, I don't anticipate that there's going to be major cataclysmic changes as a consequence of this.

Keep in mind that Norway is not a member of the European Union, but Norway is one of our closest allies. They align themselves on almost every issue with Europe and us, they are a place that is continually supporting the kinds of initiatives internationally that we support, and if over the course what is going to be at least a two-year negotiation between England and Europe, Great Britain ends up being affiliated to Europe like Norway is the average person is not going to notice a big change.

David Mack reports.

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German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has slammed David Cameron's efforts to keep the UK in the European Union as "awful".

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday, Gabriel said the Leave vote was a "pity and catastrophe for Europe and for Britain in the long term".

He added: "I've never met a politician like Mr Cameron - an awful campaign - but nevertheless now we have to decide"

This isn't the first time Gabriel, who represents the Social Democratic Party, has criticised Cameron. In an interview with Handelsblatt, he said the UK prime minister made a "massive and historic mistake" by calling the referendum, adding that the effort to keep Britain in the EU was weak.

Gabriel said: "In his campaign, he told the British: Being part of the European Union is really terrible, but if we remain, things will improve a little. That wasn't very convincing."

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David Cameron has arrived at a historic EU summit where he will discussing leaving the bloc with European leaders.

"Britain will be leaving the European Union but I want that process to be as constructive as possible and I hope the outcome can be as constructive as possible, because of course while we're leaving the European Union, we mustn't be turning our backs on Europe," he said.

"These countries are our neighbours, our friends, our allies, our partners and I very much hope we'll seek the closest possible relationship in terms of trade and cooperation and security, because that is good for us and that is good for them. And that's the spirit in which the discussions I think will be held today."

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Marine Le Pen, leader of France's conservative and anti-EU party the National Front, threw fuel onto the raging bonfire post-Brexit.

Describing recent events as a "beautiful" moment for history, Le Pen continued: "Dear colleagues, why are you getting so het up?"

She began by addressing a chamber that only moments before had roundly booed and jeered Nigel Farage's remarks, saying: "Look how beautiful history is when liberty succeeds.

"The will of the people embody things. The UK is leaving after the result of the referendum – this is perhaps the most historic event in the continent since the fall of the Berlin wall.

"It is a signal of liberty and freedom sent out to the entire world. It is a cry of love from the people for their country. The British have chosen a route which was thought was closed for all time."

She added: "For decades the European Union has been built on the back of ordinary people, France and the Netherlands with their vote, the Irish having to vote again after voting no to Lisbon. The Greeks being forced to give up their referendum and accept more austerity and that way was forced down their throats. Perpetual poverty was their fate.

"The UK has committed the heresy of breaking the chains linking them to the European Union. If you have been blind for decades by implementing absurd policies, which have brought deindustrialization, mass unemployment, and mass immigration then it is difficult to come back down to earth with a bump and see what is actually happening."

In a tone similar to that of Farage, she criticised those who had fought to preserve the union, saying: "The propagandists for the EU on the left, or in the centre, or up to the right, put away those sulky faces, put away those angry looks, and rejoice in the great emancipation of peoples."

Le Pen said there "glowing future for the United Kingdom, and that should motivate all of us to build a better future".

Turning to the rest of Europe, Le Pen said she could already hear "false truths" and "misinformation" seeking to deter other European nations from making a similar decision to that of the UK.

"The way ahead is simple." she said. "Either you persevere with your expensive idea of Europe, with the crazy schemes of those who want even more Europe and when ordinary people want less, and if you do go down that path then I can guarantee that this totalitarian organisation will collapse."

You can watch her full speech here.

Watch Nigel Farage's full speech to the European Parliament following last week's #EUref results https://t.co/uXRkYWCQAn

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Nigel Farage has just spoken at the European parliament in Brussels and his comments did not go down well with many in the room.

"Isn't it funny, when I came here 17 years ago, I said I wanted to lead a campaign to leave the EU and you all laughed at me. Well, you aren't laughing now," Farage said to loud jeers.

"The main reason the UK voted the way it did is that you [the EU] have by stealth, by deception, and without ever telling the truth to the UK and the rest of Europe, you have opposed upon them a political union.

"What happened last Thursday was a remarkable result. What the little people did, what the ordinary people did, what the people who have been oppressed and seen their living standards go down did … they said 'we want our country back, we want our fishing waters back, we want our borders back'. … That is what we have done and that is what must happen."

Farage then took a swipe at his fellow EU politicians, saying: "I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives or worked in business or worked in trade or ever created a job."

He also claimed Britain would not be the only country to leave the EU following Brexit.

Here is Farage's full speech:

Watch Nigel Farage's full speech to the European Parliament following last week's #EUref results https://t.co/uXRkYWCQAn

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German chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will use "all her strength" to prevent the EU and the UK from drifting apart after Brexit.

In an address Tuesday to parliament before she heads to Brussels to meet with other leaders, Merkel said expected the UK would want to maintain "close relations" with the EU once it leaves.

"Whoever wants to leave this family cannot expect to have no more obligations but to keep privileges," she said.

Merkel said there can be no talks with Britain on leaving the EU until Britain starts the formal procedure to leave.

Unusually clear words from #Merkel: Britain can't cherry-pick the conditions during 2 years of negotiations #Brexit

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EU parliament holds emergency meeting in Brussels.

The European parliament is holding an emergency sitting in Brussels to discuss Brexit today.

The debate will feature speeches from EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and French Front National leader Marine Le Pen.

Speaking at the meeting, Juncker said the results had saddened him but added that "democracy is democracy, and we should respect it".

Britain "remain our friends" but "I would like the United Kingdom to clarify its position," he added.

Juncker also took a swipe at Farage, demanding to know why he had shown up at the meeting when he voted to Leave.

Facebook: video.php
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Speaking on BBC's Today programme on Tuesday morning, Osborne said there will have to be tax rises and spending cuts in the wake of Brexit.

"We are absolutely going to have to provide fiscal security to people," the chancellor said. When pushed whether that meant tax rises and spending cuts he replied, "Yes, absolutely."

"Markets will move up and down, but we are in a period of prolonged economic adjustment. ... Life will not be as rosy as it would be inside the EU."

In a column in The Times this morning, Osborne also wrote: "I am very clear that we should be aiming to have the best possible terms of trade in goods and services, including financial services, with the EU. That must be the model we seek."

He also ruled himself out of the Tory leadership battle to replace David Cameron, after the prime minister announced last week that he was resigning in the wake of the Brexit vote.

"As for my own future, I will not be a candidate in the Conservative leadership election to come," Osborne said.

"It isn't in my nature to do things by half-measure, and I fought the referendum campaign with everything I've got. I believed in this cause and fought hard for it. So it is clear that while I completely accept the result, I am not the person to provide the unity my party needs at this time."

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Nigel Farage tells Channel 4 he's "nervous" that Boris Johnson hasn't called him since the Brexit vote.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

The UKIP leader objected to the notion that a "bomb" had been planted under Britain's economy as a result of the vote, arguing British trade would continue with Europe despite choosing to leave the EU.

"Perhaps there's been a bomb put under the Conservative and Labour parties, but quite right, too," he said. "They have both agreed we should be part of this. The British people have said we shouldn't be part of this. That's why you're now seeing political collateral damage."

Farage also said he doubts Scotland will leave the UK, despite most Scottish voters opting to remain in the EU.

"Is [Scottish first minister] Nicola Sturgeon really going to hold a referendum against independence? Because that's what she'd be doing, and once that gets explained to Scottish people, once they realise the ramifications of being in the EU, I think they'll vote differently."

He said he had never condoned the acts of violence or hatred against Muslims or Europeans reported since the vote, but maintained the "real prejudice" was against the pro-Brexit crowd.

"The real prejudice is the prejudice that's been there for a decade against anybody that dares stand up to the establishment, anybody that dares to say we shouldn't be part of the European Union, and anybody that even thinks we should even question immigration as an issue."

Farage said he hadn't spoken with Boris Johnson or Michael Gove since the referendum, and he worried the former London mayor might be softening his position.

"I don't care who the next Conservative leader is," he said, "as long as it's somebody who will hold faith with that referendum result.

"Does [Johnson] really want to deal with this free-movement issue? I don't yet know the answer to that. I'm worried it's being used as a smokescreen to do a different kind of deal with the European Union that would keep us within free movement."

He added: "I'm nervous. I'm nervous."

– David Mack

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Ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating of British government bonds from the highest level, AAA, to AA with a negative outlook.

The agency said it was taking down Britain's creditworthiness because the aftermath of the Brexit vote "will weaken the predictability, stability, and effectiveness of policymaking in the UK", along with risks to the country's economy.

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Speaking at a press conference on Monday night following a meeting in Berlin with German chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, Hollande said the UK was already a victim of the Brexit vote.

Hollande: There's a price to be paid for leaving the EU, as the UK isdiscovering. UK is already a victim of the decision they've taken.

The meeting between the leader of the Eurozone's three major economies swept away any doubts that they are not on the same page regarding Britain's exit. They reiterated there would be no informal talks before the UK triggers Article 50 to withdraw from the EU.

The three leaders understand that the UK needs time for David Cameron's successor as Tory leader – and thereby prime minister – to be chosen. But they are clear that they expect whoever takes over to get on with it.

At the same time, they stressed that the EU must also respond to people's concerns about the union with reforms. Renzi said it was a "great opportunity to write a new chapter".

Renzi: We're very sad about what's happened, but it gives the EU a great opportunity to write a new chapter. We mustn't waste time.

Europe's leaders had already been clear that any new arrangement would come at a cost, and that cherry-picking was not on the menu for Britain.

– Europe editor Alberto Nardelli

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Speaking during a visit to London to meet with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, the U.S. Secretary of State said he "personally will regret" that British voters opted to leave the European Union.

However, both men stressed the so-called "special relationship" between the U.S. and the U.K. would endure despite the vote.

"The day before the vote we were motivated in our efforts globally by similar interests and similar values," Kerry said. "That vote does not wipe away those interests or those values."

Kerry said President Obama's concerns prior to the vote that a Brexit would mean Washington wouldn't as readily turn to London for diplomacy were "valid." He said the United States was "currently evaluating the impact of this decision."

"Yes, the UK and EU relationship will now change," Kerry said, "but what will never change is that we are strongest when we stand together as a transatlantic community and find the common ground."

Both men said the forces that compelled British voters to choose Brexit were being felt globally.

Hammond said he acknowledged a "genuine fear" in Europe that a "contagion" could arise from the vote and prompt other member nations to hold their own referendums. "Something is stirring politically," he said, of right-wing, populist movements across the world.

"You can't put that back in the bottle," Kerry said of the forces of globalisation. "Nobody can."

— David Mack

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Vote Leave campaign leader Boris Johnson's promise of what a post-Brexit Britain would look like might not be as realistic as he's leading people to believe. Johnson has laid out his views in his weekly Telegraph column.

In the column, he said Britain would retain access to the single market with none of the obligations. He also said that British people "would still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down".

"What can I say about BoJo's column? It's a little bit delusional. I don't see how these suggestions could happen," one senior European government official told BuzzFeed News on Monday.

For more on this, read the report by BuzzFeed Europe Editor Alberto Nardelli.

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Downing Street has announced that Whitehall's new Brexit unit, charged with working out how the UK leaves the European Union, will be led by Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin.

According to a press release, Letwin "will play a facilitative role hearing views from across the government and outside on issues that need to be considered by the new unit".

Letwin has had a colourful political career. Here are a few of the highlights:

• He was, in part, responsible for increased privatisation in the NHS.• He has voted against gay rights in the past.• He once had to apologise for a "racist" memo.• He put repairs to his tennis court on expenses.• He told Margaret Thatcher to test-run the poll tax in Scotland.• He was once robbed after he let someone into his house to use his toilet.• He once had to apologise for putting parliamentary papers in a park bin.• He signed off a £3 million grant to Kids Company days before it shut down.• He has admitted to taking drugs. And to being pretentious.

Want more info? Read the report from senior reporter Alan White and LBGT editor Patrick Strudwick.

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Boris Johnson, former mayor of London and Tory leadership frontrunner, broke his weekend-long post-referendum silence on Sunday night in a Telegraph column setting out his vision for how Brexit might work.

Johnson strikes a conciliatory tone in the article, promising Brits would retain easy access to Europe, EU citizens already in the UK would be protected, and that a favourable deal was possible.

But do his claims tally with what we know from other sources?

That's mostly not true. When we talk about the "strength" of the pound, we're almost always comparing it with the dollar, which is the world's reserve currency. Since 10pm on referendum night, the pound has dropped from around $1.48 to $1.33 – unprecedentedly large moves in usually sedate currency markets. This is much lower than the pound was at any point during 2013 and 2014.

Special correspondent James Ball also tackles eight more claims here.

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David Cameron has said he does not want the EU referendum to "divide communities or provoke fear" following reports that hate crime is on the rise after last week's the historic vote.

Speaking to MPs on Monday about the outcome of the referendum, the prime minister said: "We have a fundamental responsibility to bring our country together.

"In the past few days we've seen despicable graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre, we've seen verbal abuse hurled against individuals because they're members of ethnic minorities. Let's remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to this country.

"We will not stand for hate crime and these kinds of attacks. They must be stamped out."

Cameron has added his voice to leading figures calling for vigilance against racism, including Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, who said he had "zero tolerance" for hate crime in the capital.

"As your mayor, I take seriously my responsibility to defend London's fantastic mix of diversity and tolerance," Khan said. "So it's really important we stand guard against any rise in hate crimes or abuse by those who might use last week's referendum as cover to seek to divide us."

The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella organisation of Muslim institutions, said it had collated details of 100 "hate incidents" since the referendum result.

We have collated over 100 cases of hate incidents since EU referendum #PostRefRacism #Brexit https://t.co/R2CMqXBDZz

Dr Shuja Shafi, the council's secretary general, said he would be writing to the home secretary, Theresa May, to ask what measures are being taken to step up security and policing in areas where hate crimes had been reported.

Reports of hate crime included far-right demonstrators chanting abuse outside a mosque in Birmingham, while Shazia Awan, a former Conservative parliamentary candidate who campaigned to remain in the EU, was told to "pack her bags and go home" soon after the referendum result.

Senior reporter Aisha Gani and senior political reporter Emily Ashton report.

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The UK will not invoke Article 50 until there is a new prime minister and cabinet in place, David Cameron has said.

In a statement to the House of Commons on Monday, the prime minister said he had spoken to European leaders in the last few days and told them the British government "will not be triggering" the article at tomorrow's European Council meeting.

Before the mechanism is activated, the British government will need to agree on the "kind of relationship we want with the EU", he said.

Cameron added: "That is rightly something for the next prime minister and their cabinet to decide. I have also made this point to the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission and I will make this clear again at the European Council tomorrow.

"Mr Speaker, this is our sovereign decision and it will be for Britain – and Britain alone – to take. Tomorrow is also an opportunity to make this point: Britain is leaving the European Union, but we must not turn our back on Europe – or on the rest of the world."

Once the Article 50 button is pushed, the UK will be out of the EU within two years. At that point, all treaty provisions and EU-related rules and programme would cease.
Read more about how Brexit will work here.

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David Cameron has set up a new unit in Whitehall to come up with options on how Brexit will actually work – after officials failed to make contingency plans in advance.

The team of civil servants will be based in the Cabinet Office will present its findings to the new prime minister in the autumn.

Cabinet minister Oliver Letwin will play a "facilitative" role hearing from people from within and outside government about what the next steps should be.

Cameron's spokeswoman said the new unit had been approved at a special cabinet meeting on Monday as ministers met to discuss the fallout of Britain voting to leave the European Union last week.

She said: "The point of this team is that the British people have decided to leave the European Union. The civil service, as we were clear in the run-up, had not done contingency work on what that would be."

Read more on the plan here.

Senior political reporter Emily Ashton reports.

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Here's who might succeed David Cameron as the next Conservative party leader:

So we all know David Cameron announced that he intends to resign as prime minister and Conservative party leader on Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union. A new leader will be in place by 2 September, the party's backbench 1922 committee decided on Monday.

So who's up for the job and how the hell does a Tory leadership contest work? Here's the list of potential candidates:

  • Boris Johnson
  • Theresa May
  • Stephen Crabb
  • George Osborne
  • Andrea Leadsom
  • Liam Fox
  • Dominic Raab
  • Nicky Morgan

BuzzFeed UK senior political editor Emily Ashton has more on each candidate and their prospects here.

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Pound falls to new all-time low.

The pound has now fallen to lower level than Friday morning. £1 will get you just $1.315. Another new all-time low.

The pound was still taking a battering on Monday and even surpassed the record falls it hit on Friday morning when the world was waking up to the referendum result.

A single pound will now get you just $1.32 (or $1.315, to be more precise) – the new lowest level ever. On Thursday evening the rate was £1 to $1.50 when investors thought the UK would vote Remain.

The reason the pound is taking such a pummelling is the huge uncertainty looming over the UK, which is scaring investors – they worry that the economy will tumble into a recession, so they want to put their money into safer currencies.

Citi analysts were even more gloomy and reckon the pound could fall to as low as $1.25.

Business editor Simon Neville reports.

The pound, lower for forever (via Citi)

My jam jar containing old Euros and Dollars is now the most valuable thing I own... https://t.co/vBG3TrhFS0

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Polish embassy in London shocked by reports of xenophobic abuse post-Brexit.

So I just saw four men yelling "fuck off" at the staff in a Polish shop.

The Polish embassy in London has said it is "shocked and deeply concerned" by recent reports of xenophobic abuse directed against "the Polish community and other UK residents of migrant heritage".

Yesterday, allegedly racist graffiti was found on the front of a Polish cultural centre in London in what is suspected to be the latest example of anti-immigrant sentiment following Britain's vote to leave the European Union last Thursday.

Statement from the Polish embassy in London about the spate of alleged xenophobic attacks post-Brexit

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Banks continue to bear the brunt of the uncertainty surrounding the vote to leave the EU.

Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland watched their shares tank on Monday morning, and even had trading in the stocks suspended by the London Stock Exchange.

The suspensions were automatically triggered by circuit breakers to allow the market to settle on a price.

A suspension happens when shares fall by more than 8%. Barclays shares are down 10% and RBS down 14%. Both fell by around 20% on Friday – triggering similar suspensions.

A source close to Barclays said: "Shares were suspended twice on Friday. It's automatically triggered by the stock market and will be trading again shortly. So, beyond the obvious problems, we're not too concerned."

The FTSE 100 fell by a modest 1.34% to 6065, despite the heavy falls in bank shares. Housebuilders also saw shares fall as anecdotal evidence emerged that outside investors were starting to worry.

First call of the day. "Sorry, we are now not going to build the 70000 sqft of offices in belfast."

And Foxtons and EasyJet both warned profits in their business would fall.

The FTSE 250 fell harder, down 3.7%, suffering more than the top-tier index because it is made up of typically UK-based and -focused companies, unlike the FTSE 100, which is more international.

Business editor Simon Neville reports.

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EU parliament to hold special session on Brexit tomorrow.

The European parliament is expected to adopt a resolution "on the consequences from the result of the UK referendum to leave the EU" tomorrow in an extraordinary plenary session. BuzzFeed News has seen the agreed draft.

The main points:

– The parliament stresses that the will of the British citizens should be respected with a swift and coherent implementation of the withdrawal procedure.

– It calls for an immediate activation of Article 50. (However, as things stand it seems probable that the procedure will not begin until the UK has a new PM in place.)

– It notes that the settlement agreed by David Cameron is February is as a consequence of the referendum result now "null and void".

– The parliament "reminds that any new relationship between the UK and the EU may not be agreed before the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement".

– The parliament invites the Council to appoint the European Commission as negotiator on Article 50, and will remind that the consent of the European parliament will be required under the EU treaties. (Both these points are clear in EU law, so no surprise.)

There are also additional points on the future of the EU and calls for a roadmap for a better union.
Europe editor Alberto Nardelli reports.

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Leave campaigner Boris Johnson says "the pound is stable, the markets are stable".

Former Mayor of London and Tory MP Boris Johnson has spoken to reporters about George Osborne's statement this morning.

"It's clear that Project Fear is over, there's not going to be an emergency Budget, people's pensions are safe, the pound is stable, the markets are stable," the Leave campaigner said.

"I think that's all very good news."

He claimed Europeans living in Britain would have "their rights protected", as would British people working abroad.

The Leave side just wants an immigration system "that's fair, impartial and humane to all people coming from around the world," he added.

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By just 9am Monday, another seven Labour shadow cabinet ministers and junior ministers had resigned.

Here is a run-down of the Labour figures who have tendered their resignations, claiming they can no longer support beleaguered leader Jeremy Corbyn after his decision to sack shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn in the early hours of Sunday morning.

First to go was Heidi Alexander, shadow health secretary. Her resignation was followed in increasingly quick succession by Gloria De Piero, shadow spokesperson for young people; Ian Murray, shadow minister for Scotland; Seema Malhotra, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury; Kerry McCarthy, shadow secretary of state for environment, food, and rural affairs; Lucy Powell, shadow education secretary; Lilian Greenwood, shadow secretary of state for transport; Vernon Coaker, shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland; Lord Falconer, secretary of state for Justice and shadow Lord Chancellor; Karl Turner, shadow attorney general; Chris Bryant, shadow Commons leader; Toby Perkins, shadow minister for business, innovation, and skills; Anna Turley, shadow minister for civil society; Diana Johnson, shadow foreign minister; and junior shadow minister Jess Phillips.

In total, 14 shadow ministers have resigned.

More resignations are expected in the course of the day.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith expected to resign later, along with Angela and Maria Eagle. Labour in complete meltdown.

The Labour leader has released a list of the new shadow cabinet.

Full list of new Labour shadow cabinet appointment:

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EasyJet and Foxtons told the stock market on Monday morning that they both expected profits to fall following the vote to leave the EU.

EasyJet said the pound falling against the dollar – it fell 2% Sunday night to $1.34 for £1 – will cost the firm an extra £25 million this year, particularly as fuel prices (which are priced in US dollars) are likely to rise.

The airline also revealed that there were 700 cancellations in June as customers worried about air traffic control strikes in France and the EgyptAir crash.

On Friday, bosses said they were already in negotiations with EU nations to ensure flights to those countries could continue.

Foxtons, the London-focused estate agent, said: "The run up to the EU referendum led to significant uncertainty across London residential markets and the decision to leave Europe is expected to prolong that uncertainty."

Banks, housebuilders, and travel firms were some of the hardest hit companies on Friday, with shares in all falling badly, and they are likely to be hit again when the stock markets open at 8am.

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Chancellor George Osborne has spoken out to calm volatile markets following Friday's vote to leave the EU.

In a speech on Monday morning, Osborne said it would "not be plain sailing in the days ahead".

"Today I want to reassure the British people and the global community that Britain is ready to confront what the future holds for us from a position of strength," he said.

"Our economy is about as strong as it could be to face the challenge. This is not the outcome that I wanted ... Now that the people have spoken, we in this democracy must accept that result, I fully accept the result of the referendum.

"I've got a very important job to do, to speak to international investors, international counterparts ... [but] there will be an adjustment in our economy that will have an impact on our public finances.

"What the British people need to know is that the fundamentals of the British economy is strong. ... Britain is open for business."

Osborne also echoed David Cameron, who resigned as prime minister on Friday, and said Article 50 would not be triggered until a new PM was in place.

He also appeared to concede that the emergency Budget he said would be needed during the campaign in the event of Brexit could also wait until a new PM was chosen.

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In his Telegraph column Johnson, who is widely tipped to replace David Cameron as prime minister, wrote:

I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be. There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment. EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU.

He added: "British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down."

Johnson also played down economic fears, writing: "The stock market is way above its level of last autumn; the pound remains higher than it was in 2013 and 2014."

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A coordinated coup was launched after Corbyn's sacked the shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

In one resignation letter the shadow minister for culture, Chris Bryant, wrote that the referendum had shown "you and your team cannot run an effective national campaign". He concluded: "I fear you will go down in history as the man who broke the Labour party."

However, Corbyn's office said he is not going anywhere and released a defiant statement saying he will not "betray the trust" of those who voted for him by resigning.

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The Telegraph reported that in one of the most open signs of fissures beginning to open in the EU so far, Zaorálek told Czech television: "In my opinion, he [Juncker] is not the right person for that position. We have to ask who is responsible for the result of the referendum in Britain." A Eurosceptic German MEP made a similar call on the day the result was announced.

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The Polish ambassador to the UK has announced that "high level" talks will take place tomorrow after numerous reports of attacks on Poles in the UK in the wake of Brexit.

Polish Ambassador to the UK: attacks on #PolesinUK to be discussed in high level bilateral talks tomorrow https://t.co/9EVui1Wrhz

There have been numerous reports of racist incidents in the wake of the referendum, including hate mail apparently sent to Polish residents in Cambridgeshire and racist graffiti spotted in west London.

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The chair of the Bundestag's European affairs committee, a senior member of Angela Merkel's party, has said an independent Scotland would be welcomed into the European Union.

Bart Maat / AFP / Getty Images

Chair of the Bundestag EU affairs committee Gunther Krichbaum (left) talks to Roland van Vliet of the Dutch Party for Freedom.

"The EU will still consist of 28 member states, as I expect a new independence referendum in Scotland, which will then be successful," Gunther Krichbaum reportedly told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "We should respond quickly to an application for admission from the EU-friendly country."

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The deputy Labour leader has finally surfaced after one of the most tumultuous days in his party's recent history.

In a carefully balanced statement, Watson said he was "deeply disappointed" to hear of Benn's sacking but "equally saddened" by the numerous resignations rocking the Labour party.

As of Sunday evening, nine shadow cabinet members have resigned following the decision of Corbyn to sack Hilary Benn in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Watson went on to say that he expects an "early general election" and that as a result the Labour party must be prepared to form a government. "There's much work to do," he said.

He said his "single focus is to hold the Labour party together in very turbulent times".

Watson's statement in full:

"I was deeply disappointed to see Hilary Benn sacked in the early hours of this morning and equally saddened that so many talented, able and hard-working colleagues felt they had to leave the shadow cabinet.

"My single focus is to hold the Labour party together in very turbulent times.

"The nation needs an effective opposition, particularly as the current leadership of the country is so lamentable. It's very clear to me that we are heading for an early general election and the Labour party must be ready to form a Government. There's much work to do.

"I will be meeting Jeremy Corbyn tomorrow morning to discuss the way forward."

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The German chancellor's chief of staff has suggested the UK should be allowed time to "think" following the shock Brexit vote on Friday.

Peter Altmaier, Angela Merkel's chief of staff, told the RND newspaper Sunday morning: "Politicians in London should have the possibility to reconsider the consequences of an exit."

He described the UK's decision as "a difficult watershed with many consequences".

In later comments to Reuters, Altmaier clarified that he was discussing when Britain could trigger Article 50.

Important update 1/2: "I do not mean reconsidering #Brexit itself" Merkel chief of staff @peteraltmaier tells @Reuters.

Today's statements in EU27: they're not offering new deal to UK,but urging more time in hope Brit political earthquake causes Brexit rethink

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The secretary of state for Northern Ireland – who voted to leave the European Union – has now said Article 50 should not be activated as "we'll be shut out of important meetings".

Theresa Villiers, the Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, said she wanted a delay in Article 50, according to comments tweeted by the Times writer Phillip Collins.

Villiers, appointed secretary of state for Northern Ireland in 2012, wrote in the Observer the day after the referendum result that there was "no need to plunge into tabling Article 50 now".

Northern Ireland Sec says don't activate Article 50 as "we'll be shut out of important meetings". She voted Leave. Amazing.

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Sigmar Gabriel's remarks to Reuters may signal the end of any hopes of a "Brexit-lite" deal, whereby the UK would retain some control and remain within the single market.

In earlier remarks he said there are "no half EU memberships."

His remarks come as the remaining countries of the European Union prepare to meet in Brussels.

Ambassadors & sherpas of the "27" meeting now to prepare European summit Tues&Wed & next steps after #UKreferendum

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The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has attempted to reassure British voters, saying the international community would find a "sensible, thoughtful” way through Brexit.

Kerry, speaking to Sky News during a visit to Rome to meet his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni, said that although his administration had wished the vote would go to Remain, he and US president Barack Obama had to respect the voters.

He said: "I am absolutely convinced – and I say this to the marketplace, I say this to citizens who are wondering what is going on – I am absolutely convinced, President Obama is absolutely convinced that we will be able to work through this in a sensible, thoughtful way that takes the best strengths of the EU, the best strengths of the marketplace, the best interests of our national security and international security, and works to keep them moving in the right direction for our countries."

Kerry will visit Brussels, where he will meet European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and then London on Monday, Reuters reported. According to a senior state department official, Kerry will use the visit to London to reassure foreign secretary Phillip Hammond of continued American support.

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A House of Commons petitions committee has said it is investigating allegations of fraudulent votes in a petition calling for a second referendum.

Helen Jones, who chairs the cross-party petitions committee, said in a statement on Twitter that it is taking allegations of fraud "very seriously", and confirmed her office would be investigating – and possibly removing signatures it deems fraudulent.

Read a statement from our Chair on the second referendum petition.

The full statement reads:

"We take fraud in the petitions system very seriously, because it undermines the process of parliamentary democracy. The Government Digital Service are taking action to investigate and, where necessary, remove fraudulent signatures. People adding fraudulent signatures to this petition should know that they undermine the cause they pretend to support.

"It is clear that this petition is very important to a substantial number of people. The Petitions Committee will be considering the petition at its meeting next week, and will decide whether or not to schedule a debate on it.

"That doesn't mean that the Committee will be deciding whether or not it agrees with the petition – just whether or not it should be debated. Any debate would allow a range of views to be expressed."

The petition has more signatures on it than any other on the parliament website. As of Sunday afternoon it had passed 3 million.

ParliamentUK