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Britons: To Be or Not to Be | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London – Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond said that both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were taken back by the results of the referendum as if they weren’t prepared for such a surprise.

What Salmond was trying to say is that both “I think it is extraordinary, the amount of damage done by politicians who quite clearly had no expectation of winning and therefore hadn’t done the work to bring together a plan of what to do once they’ve won.”

Salmond spoke during a debate organized by BBC about the Brexit decision. He added that both camps, stay and leave, are lost and had no plan B in case of emergency.

Despite that, hashtag “#regrexit” is still popular on social media in response to whether U.K. can reconsider the decision.

A poll demanding a second EU vote received 3.3 million signatures.

Minister of Health Jeremy Hunt announced himself as a possible candidate to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. He wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph during which he raised the prospect of a new EU referendum.

“I don’t think there (necessarily) needs to be another referendum but I think there needs to be some kind of democratic endorsement,” Hunt said.

He added that: “We’ve had nine general elections since we joined the EU and this is such a big thing that I think the terms under which we leave the EU also need to be put to the British people.”

Hunt stressed that the new prime minister should be given the chance to negotiate with Brussels before the two years’ time limit begins. He wrote: “We must not invoke Article 50 straight away because that puts a time limit of two years on negotiations after which we could be thrown out with no deal at all.”

According to Hunt: “Before setting the clock ticking, we need to negotiate a deal and put it to the British people, either in a referendum or through the Conservative manifesto at a fresh general election.”

President of the European Council Donald Tusk suggested non-official negotiations in September prior to the discussions of Britain’s exit.

There is a general belief that the competition on leadership of the conservative party could lead to early elections in November, three years before its actual date.

Former Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg called for an autumn general election. He insisted that it would be wrong for the Tory party alone to select the next PM. He stressed on the importance of a second public referendum.

Scotland voted for staying in the EU with 62% stay and 38% leave.

Due to complicated arrangements of UK, any legislation issued in London should be approved by three parliaments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Though Article 50 was never applied before, House of Lords is discussing on how the exit procedures should be done.

Derek Wait, who participated in a report published in May about exiting procedures, said that the law allows Britain to change its opinion after activation of Article 50.

What made things worse is that both lead parties in UK were paralyzed with Cameron becoming an incapable leader. Most members of the shadow government have resigned.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced his resignation, said he won’t be doing the official steps towards exiting the EU.

Since the referendum is not legally binding, some politicians suggested a parliament vote before the official procedures begin.

According to some observers, the matter is now “to be or not to be” in the EU. Yet, most politicians agree that the results of 52% to leave and 48% to stay means exiting the EU should be done and anything else would be a “slap in the face” of democracy.

Scottish Prime Minister said her parliament object UK’s decision to leave the EU.

An emotional Cameron confirmed in his resignation speech that: “The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.”

Leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage announced he wants good relations with the EU after the exit. Farage told the press before the European Parliament session to discuss the referendum: “We won the war. Now we have to win peace. We want to be good friends, good neighbors, good trading partners.”

Farage said Britain should leave as soon as possible, but that the process should be amicable, adding that the size of the British economy and its close links with the rest of the EU meant that it should be given a preferential deal.

He commented: “We are the biggest trading partners of the euro zone. We can get a much better deal than Norway,” he said.

Chancellor George Osborne announced that the British government will have to cut spending even further and increase taxes to ensure the country can live within its diminished means post-Brexit decision.

Osborne explained that it will be a long process of economic changes to adapt to life outside the EU and it won’t be as “peachy” as it was when U.K. was part of the EU.

It is not likely for the EU to allow Britain to have access to the unified market. Yet, the important issue here is the restrains on immigrations that Brexiters had promised.

Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty organizes the process of any country leaving the EU, yet it hadn’t been activated.

Prior to the vote, Cameron said that Article 50 will be activate if UK voted for exiting the EU. Boris Johnson and other supporters are trying to delay the process.

EU leaders are divided between those who want to speed up the exit process like President of European Commission Claude Junker and others who asked for patience like Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Queen Elizabeth II said during her first public appearance since the Brexit decision, “I am still alive.”

During her meeting with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Martin McGuinness, the Queen provided the understatement of the century when asked how she’s doing: “Well, I’m still alive, anyway. There has been quite a lot going on.”

The Queen didn’t comment on the referendum, yet The Sun newspaper said that the Queen supports exiting the EU. The Sun based its saying on resources reporting that the Queen said “I don’t understand Europe” during a reception in Buckingham Palace.