A very British response to a European crisis

In a new regular column, Catherine Fieschi looks at how national characteristics are reflected in the way parliaments deal with upheaval

The World Today Published 2 August 2016 Updated 8 February 2021 2 minute READ

Catherine Fieschi

Director, Counterpoint

Anyone tuning in to listen on June 27 to David Cameron’s statement to the House of Commons on the result of the European Union referendum might have been forgiven for thinking that MPs were busy reviewing who had tipped over the cake-stand at the village fête.

In the real world, the immediate aftermath of the referendum saw − in quick succession: the prime minister resign, the shadow cabinet implode and markets crash. In the days that followed, the tragicomedy of succession plots in both parties paved the way for repentance, consternation and shock from swaths of the general public and from Britain’s stunned allies.

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