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UK Government Works To Slow Brexit As EU Pressure Builds

Photo: REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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British political leaders are doing everything they can to move as slowly as possible in the implementation of Brexit, despite pressure from the European Union to get the process started soon.

Britain voted in favor of leaving the EU Thursday. As a result of the vote, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wants the UK to leave “immediately,” according to BBC News.

Despite the European chief bureaucrat’s wishes, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron plans to resign in October after the Conservative Party Conference by which time the party will have a new leader. Cameron has stated that he will let his successor at 10 Downing Street begin the process of formally exiting the EU.

Top party officials hope that a new leader will emerge by September. It is widely thought that former London Mayor and current Conservative Member of Parliament, Boris Johnson, will become Prime Minister.

EU officials as well as Members of the European Parliament have accused Cameron of passing the buck on leaving the international organization. The UK initially joined the EU in 1975 through a referendum much like the one it held to leave the economic bloc.

Several European leaders were blindsided by the British referendum result which has led to German Chancellor Angela Merkel refusing to have “informal talks” over the UK leaving the EU. Cameron defended his stance in Parliament on Monday  saying that beginning the two year process of leaving the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is a “sovereign decision.” The Lisbon Treaty is essentially the Constitution of the EU and all member states have signed onto it.

Turnout for the referendum was the biggest national election since 1992 with over 30 million people taking part, which is 71.8 percent of all eligible voters. The Leave [the EU] campaign won the day by over a million votes, with 17,410,742 wanting to get out of the EU versus 16,141,241 wanting to stay in the organization.

The referendum on British membership to the EU was the result of a 2015 electoral pledge made by Cameron’s Conservative Party if they won parliamentary elections. Cameron hoped that his gamble would win him a majority in Parliament, which it did. Ultimately, Cameron’s efforts to quell Conservative back-benchers that might have defected to the UK Independence Party (UKIP), led by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nigel Farage failed considering the EU referendum result.

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