David Camerons resignation to set off leadership scramble

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, accompanied by his wife, Samantha, speaks to the media in front of 10 Downing street, London, Friday, June, 24, 2016, as he announces he will resign by the time of the Conservative Party conference in the autumn, following the result of the EU referendum, in which the Britain voted to leave the EU. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) David Cameron’s resignation to set off leadership scramble by Gregory Katz, The Associated Press Posted Jun 24, 2016 2:50 am MDT Last Updated Jun 24, 2016 at 11:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LONDON – An intense leadership battle is expected to unfold within Britain’s Conservative Party after its long-standing, passionate split over the country’s role in Europe reached a pinnacle Friday with a vote to exit the bloc and the resignation of the prime minister.The still youthful-looking David Cameron announced he would step down after Brits rejected his plea to vote to keep Britain inside the European Union, setting in motion complex divorce proceedings expected to take two years or more to work out.Speaking in a stoic tone, with his wife Samantha standing nearby, Cameron said Britain needs a new “captain” to manage torturous negotiations with EU officials about how to separate Britain from the 28-nation bloc.Strong disagreements over Britain’s place in Europe helped undercut the party support for the last Conservative prime minister, John Major, and before him Margaret Thatcher. She was removed by internal foes, as was Cameron, in effect, while Major lost a 1997 general election in part because party unity had become illusory because of a split over Europe.There was an element of Shakespearean tragedy over the resignation of Cameron, 49.The often cheerful prime minister, who had seemed to live a charmed political life, was laid low not by his enemies — and certainly not the often ignored Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who faces a nascent leadership challenge of his own.Instead, his fate was sealed by two former close friends within the Conservative Party who helped lead the campaign to leave the EU: Oxford University mate Boris Johnson and close family friend Michael Gove.The Cameron and Gove families used to vacation together and Gove’s wife is the godmother to one of Cameron’s daughters, but their friendship dissolved in the clash over the referendum.On Friday, Johnson and Gove had only praise for Cameron when they made a joint appearance lamenting his decision to step down— but by then, they had already, politically speaking, buried him.Cameron said Friday a new prime minister should be in place by a party conference in October. That means the party must choose a leader, who would become prime minister.Among the possible contenders are Johnson and Gove, as well as Home Secretary Theresa May.Johnson didn’t utter a word Friday about whether he would become a candidate for the party’s top spot. He called his old university classmate “one of the most extraordinary politicians of our age” and commended Cameron’s “bravery” for calling the referendum.Political analysts and commentators have consistently said Johnson hoped to use a vote in favour of a British exit from the EU, or Brexit, as a launching pad for national leadership.The result of the referendum caused some resentment from Britons who wanted to stay in the EU about the way a dispute between the elite-educated Cameron and Johnson ended with a British decision to withdraw from the bloc. It was Cameron who called the referendum, to quell party conflict, and Johnson whose charisma helped lure voters away from the EU.“I am very unhappy about it,” said Richard Aczel, who teaches English literature in Germany. “I was born and bred in Britain but I am also a European. I am sick that two upper class twits from Eton have torn our country apart and I feel ashamed.”Other Cabinet members are likely to contend for the leadership as well. However, Treasury chief George Osborne’s chances seem damaged by the Brexit vote as he had argued strongly in favour of remaining in the EU.He had been considered to be in a strong position before the campaign to stay inside the EU faltered in the last two weeks.Conservative Party rules call for the party’s members of Parliament to choose two candidates through a series of ballots, and then the entire party’s membership will choose between those two.If only one candidate surfaces by the close of nominations, he or she is declared the leader and the choice then must be ratified by the party membership as a whole.Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said it is too soon to speculate about who will replace Cameron, who became party leader in 2005 and led the party to two general election victories.“I think it is a bit too early to start speculating about that,” he said. “There is plenty to do now to help make this decision work, to stabilize our economy, to reassure our allies and to continue the program we were all elected on last year.”He said Cameron has done the honourable thing by resigning.Cameron had been expected to serve several more years but the referendum result made his position untenable. He was re-elected last year with a majority vote but lost control of the debate on the EU. read more

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TSX oil and gold move higher while New York indexes edge down

TORONTO – Canada’s biggest stock index moved up, boosted by a rise in the price of gold and oil, while indexes south of the border edged down, slowing their recent momentum.In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index finished the day with a gain of 33.89 points to 15,252.20. But the Friday close fell short of its stronger early morning performance, when the index rose slightly above 15,300.A large part of the gain can be attributed to the resource space, said Craig Jerusalim, a portfolio manager of Canadian equities at CIBC Asset Management.The gold sector was among the highest performing of those on the TSX, edged out by utilities and real estate. Gold stocks advanced an average of nearly 0.75 per cent as the price of the precious metal moved up.The February gold contract rose $7.60 to US$1,137.40 an ounce, recouping some of its US$33.90 loss on Thursday after being dragged down by a strengthening U.S. dollar.Bullion prices have fallen by US$136.10 since Nov. 9, after Americans voted for billionaire Donald Trump to be the country’s next leader.The strength in the price of oil also helped boost the Toronto index, said Jerusalim.The January crude contract advanced $1.00 to US$51.90 per barrel, while the more heavily-traded February contract added 98 cents to US$52.95 per barrel.On Wall Street, markets didn’t perform as well. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 8.83 points to 19,843.41, the S&P 500 fell 3.96 points to 2,258.07, and the Nasdaq composite retreated 19.69 points to 5,437.16.Jerusalim said the New York index losses are a sign the market is taking a breather after quite a strong rally following president-elect Trump’s election victory.The markets responded positively to Trump’s surprise win on hopes that the policies of his administration will be a boost for certain industries, like the banks. It’s anticipated that he may deregulate the banking industry after he takes over the White House on Jan. 20.The U.S. index retreats are typical after a strong sentiment shift in one direction, Jerusalim noted. All three indexes have recently hit record highs for multiple days in a row.“Sentiment shifts have been fast, furious and erratic, and we’ve seen the shifts happening so quickly from extreme pessimism to likely an over-optimistic scenario recently,” Jerusalim said.He added that’s been particularly true of a number of sectors, including the financial and resource focused ones.The Canadian dollar, which is usually closely tied to movement in the price of oil, was relatively flat. It inched up 0.02 of a U.S. cent to 74.94 cents US.Elsewhere in commodities, January natural gas fell 1.9 cents to about $3.42 per mmBTU and March copper contracts were down 3.6 cents at US$2.56 a pound.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter. TSX, oil and gold move higher, while New York indexes edge down by The Canadian Press Posted Dec 16, 2016 9:42 am MDT Last Updated Dec 16, 2016 at 3:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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