As the Brexit vote continued to rock British politics on Monday, a renewed exodus from Labour’s shadow cabinet and the deputy leader joining the rebels further cornered party chief Jeremy Corbyn, while home secretary Theresa May appeared set to challenge Boris Johnson for the prime minister’s post.
Under fire for not providing the required leadership during the EU referendum, Corbyn faced more resignations from his shadow cabinet. Deputy leader Tom Watson turned the screws further by conveying to Corbyn that he had lost the confidence of the parliamentary party.
Watson said it was for Corbyn to reflect on his position and resign, but if he did not, he would face a “bruising” leadership contest. Labour’s woes prompted much dismay at a time when a strong opposition is needed to challenge the Conservative government in the post-Brexit scenario.
As opposition to Johnson continued, May was scheduled to announce this week her candidature for the post of the Conservative leader, who will take over as prime minister after David Cameron steps down in October. Less seen during the campaign, she was on the Remain side but has often spoken against the EU.
Johnson presented a vision of a Brexit government in his Monday column in The Daily Telegraph, in which he sounded conciliatory and insisted Britain would not be any less European outside the European Union.
The star of the Leave campaign wrote: “There were more than 16 million who wanted to remain. They are our neighbours, brothers and sisters who did what they passionately believe was right. In a democracy majorities may decide but everyone is of equal value.
”We who are part of this narrow majority must do everything we can to reassure the Remainers. We must reach out, we must heal, we must build bridges – because it is clear that some have feelings of dismay, and of loss, and confusion."
He added: “The only change – and it will not come in any great rush – is that the UK will extricate itself from the EU’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation: the vast and growing corpus of law enacted by a European Court of Justice from which there can be no appeal. This will bring not threats, but golden opportunities for this country – to pass laws and set taxes according to the needs of the UK.”