Brexit: The past seven days

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An EU and Union flag held aloft in Westminster, London (PA)

The European election results were a hammer blow to the Tories and Labour, with Westminster’s two main parties picking up just 23% of the vote between them.

So what has happened and what will happen next?

– Days to go

153, if Brexit comes on the latest deadline of October 31.

– What happened this week?

The Tories and Labour suffered humiliation in the European elections, while the Brexit Party emerged as victors and the Liberal Democrats were well placed in second.

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In other developments, Boris Johnson is due to be summonsed to court over claims he lied when he said the UK gave the EU £350 million a week during the 2016 referendum.

European Parliament election
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage with fellow MEPs during a post-election press conference for the party at Carlton House Terrace in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

– What happens next?

US President Donald Trump’s visit could see another intervention on Brexit – he has previously criticised Mrs May’s negotiating strategy and suggested she should have sued the EU.

The Peterborough by-election on June 6 will be a test of whether the Brexit Party can maintain its European election momentum under Westminster’s first-past-the-post voting system.

On June 7 Theresa May will finally resign as Tory leader having been unable to deliver Brexit.

– Good week

Sir Vince Cable

The Liberal Democrats’ strong showing marked their return as a major force following the backlash they faced from voters as a result of the coalition with the Tories.

In 2014 they were reduced to a single MEP but outgoing leader Sir Vince now has 16 MEPs and can end his tenure at the top of the party on a high as “the strongest Remain force in British politics”.

– Bad week

Jeremy Corbyn

His attempts to appeal to both Leave and Remain voters fell flat as a polarised electorate split between parties offering a clear policy on either leaving the EU or fighting to stay within it.

The Labour leader now faces efforts, spearheaded by his deputy Tom Watson, to back a new policy of supporting a second referendum.

The expulsion of Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell for voting Lib Dem was a sign of the wider split within the Labour ranks over Brexit policy.

– Quote of the week

The Prime Minister attended a meeting in Brussels knowing that, for the first time, Brexit would not be her responsibility.

She said: “It is a matter of great regret to me that I haven’t been able to deliver Brexit.

“But of course that matter is now for my successor and they will have to find a way of addressing very strongly held views on both sides of this issue.”

– Tweet of the week

Alastair Campbell said he was “sad and disappointed” to receive an email throwing him out of the Labour Party.

– Word of the week

Vaccine

European Council president Donald Tusk claimed “Brexit has been a vaccine against anti-EU propaganda and fake news” as he responded to the election results across the continent.

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