David Cameron heads to Brussels after Brexit vote – as EU leaders say no talks before Article 50

Downing Street says Cameron will "try to foster constructive support around the table with all 27 leaders of the other member states" – as fellow EU leaders make clear that 

By Josh May

28 Jun 2016

David Cameron is travelling to Brussels on Tuesday to meet with EU leaders for the first time since the UK voted to quit the European Union.

Tuesday's summit will be his final scheduled meeting with the European Council before Cameron steps down as prime minister later this year.

Talks are likely to be dominated by last Thursday’s poll that saw Britain back leaving the bloc by more than 1 million votes.

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Leaders of the other 27 member states will then meet tomorrow, without Cameron, to discuss the implications of Brexit.

The prime minister's spokeswoman said: "The prime minister's objective will be to try to foster constructive support around the table with all 27 leaders of the other member states. 

"He has built up strong relations with many of the players around the table and he will want to encourage people to think about how both the UK and EU needs to work now to make the best of the decision that the British people have taken."

Cameron will meet with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at lunch time, before convening with European Council president Donald Tusk in the afternoon.

The EU referendum result will be the only item on the agenda at a working dinner later this evening.

Cameron has decided not to trigger Article 50, the formal legal process for leaving the EU, instead leaving it for his successor in Number 10 to decide when to initiate Britain’s formal exit.

After talks in Berlin yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi agreed that no discussions would take place until the article has been triggered.

Speaking at a news conference after the bilateral talks, Merkel said: "We are in agreement that Article 50 of the European treaties is very clear – a member state that wishes to leave the European Union has to notify the European Council.

"There can't be any further steps until that has happened. Only then will the European Council issue guidelines under which an exit will be negotiated.

"That means that, and we agree on this point, there will be neither informal nor formal talks on a British exit until the European Council has received the [UK's] request for an exit from the European Union."

Meanwhile, pro-Remain chancellor George Osborne has ruled himself out of the race for the Conservative leadership that is to take place following Cameron's decision to quit as prime minister.

Writing in the Times on Tuesday, 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.”

A new YouGov survey for the same paper sees home secretary Theresa May winning 31% of support among Conservative voters compared to 24% for former Mayor of London Boris Johnson. In April, the figure was 36% to 14% in Johnson's favour.

Among the wider public, May edges out Johnson by 19% to 18%.


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