One of the most immediate and dramatic ramifications of the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU was David Cameron’s announcement that he will step down as Prime Minister of the U.K.
There were also media reports of a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, after what many viewed as a tepid backing of the remain campaign. Two Labour politicians have submitted a “motion of no confidence” in Corbyn, calling for a debate on his leadership, according to Reuters.
No-one had yet declared themselves as a candidate to succeed Cameron, as Friday’s dramatic events unfolded. Whoever takes over will have to decide when to trigger Article 50, the exit clause in the EU treaty, and start the negotiations for the U.K.’s new relationship with the EU.
However, Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London who was one of the most prominent figures in the Leave campaign, swiftly emerged as the odds-on favorite, with betting firm Ladbrokes offering 4/6 odds on him as the next Tory leader Friday morning.
Johnson paid tribute to Cameron as “one of the most extraordinary politicians of our age” in a statement to reporters on Friday morning, but has not addressed the question of whether he will make a bid to succeed him.
Among the prominent Conservatives who supported the Remain campaign, Home Secretary Theresa May emerged as an early leader, with Ladbrokes offering odds of 11/4 on her winning the contest. Citi analysts pointed out that she could take over as an interim leader until October’s party conference.
Michael Gove, another government minister and personal friend of Cameron’s who helped lead the Leave campaign, was also tipped as a potential candidate, with odds of 7/1 on him becoming next Conservative Party leader.
The discontent in the Labour Party also threatened to spill over into a challenge to Corbyn’s leadership. Two Labour Party MPs, Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey, have submitted a motion of no confidence in his leadership to the Parliamentary Labour Party, and his Ipsos MORI poll ratings amongst party voters dropped to a new low on Wednesday ahead of the vote.