Tuesday 21 June 2016

what comes next if Britain votes in or out

If Britain votes Remain .

David Cameron is likely to speak on the steps of 10 Downing Street, encouraging both sides of the debate to come together. If the result is close, he may say he intends to propose further reforms of the EU given the level of support for Brexit. The onus will be on him to show he has listened to the British people.Downing Street insiders believe he will not immediately reshuffle his cabinet but allow for a period of calm. To bring some unity within his party, he is also likely to call a vote on the issue of Trident in the last week before the summer recess. The renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent is a policy on which his party is more or less entirely as one, while Labour is badly split. The expected cabinet reshuffle is likely to come shortly before the party conference in the first week of October.
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Read moreOne senior Conservative MP said Cameron will want to be magnanimous to the losing side. Boris Johnson will be given a major portfolio, and it has been rumoured that Michael Gove could be made deputy prime minister, though Cameron is said to have been “genuinely hurt” by his friend’s attacks during the campaign. Priti Patel will also take a seat around the cabinet table.
A vote in favour of staying in the EU would boost George Osborne’s hopes of replacing Cameron as prime minister and be a blow to Johnson. But with the Tory membership overwhelmingly in favour of leaving the EU, it is unlikely to mark the end of the former London mayor’s ambitions.
A win for Remain will be a boost for Jeremy Corbyn, though the party is divided on whether Labour should be pushing the EU to make reforms to its rules on freedom of movement.
If the country votes to leave the European Union, it is widely expected that Cameron will announce his intention to resign within hours of the result. A number of senior Vote Leave campaigners, including a cabinet minister, have told the Observer this need not and should not happen. However professor of government Vernon Bogdanor points out that a loss of a referendum vote is often seen as a vote of no confidence in a leader.
Boris Johnson
 Boris Johnson will be one step closer to becoming prime minister if Britain votes Leave. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images
“In 1979 the failure of the devolution referendum led to the resignation of the Callaghan government and an early general election, which the government lost,” Bogdanor said. “In France in 1969 the failure of a referendum on constitutional reform led to the immediate resignation of President de Gaulle. “In 1972, the Norwegians rejected the advice of their government to join the European Communities; the prime minister resigned and the opposition parties formed a government.
In September 2014 David Cameron confessed he would have resigned if the vote in Scotland had been for independence.”
However, Cameron is likely stay on in an acting capacity until a new party leader is chosen by the membership, which may take several months. The successful candidate is likely to be someone who supported Brexit, and there may be pressure for the new leader, and prime minister, to call a general election.
“Following a vote for Brexit, parliament must decide what EU law it intends to preserve, what should be modified and what should be repealed,” said Bogdanor. “Brexiters might argue that this exercise is best carried out by those who believe in it, rather than by the pro-EU majority in the present House of Commons.”
Meanwhile, the prime minister is expected to immediately apply the article 50 procedure, which allows two years for talks, to terminate the UK’s membership and begin negotiations on the institutional and financial provisions of the separation. When agreement is reached, it must be passed in the Council of Ministers by qualified majority vote as well as in the European parliament and in the Commons and the Lords. The UK would then negotiate a separate deal to cover trading arrangements with the EU. That would require national ratification in every member state.
A vote to leave the EU might put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, who some have criticised for what they see as half-hearted support for the Remain campaign. While it is unlikely that the Labour party’s membership would support a coup, one shadow cabinet minister said a vote in favour of Brexit could prove to be as damaging to Labour in England and Wales as the Scottish referendum was to the party north of the border.
“It would mark the moment at which the Labour vote ignored the party,” the MP said. “It will be a breach from the party, and millions of voters, especially in the north, will go elsewhere, maybe to Ukip, maybe to a new-look Conservative party.”

If Britain votes Leave

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