Britain could have a new prime minister by early September, the ruling Conservative Party said on Monday, after David Cameron started laying the groundwork for his successor to trigger the country’s exit from the European Union.
The government is under pressure to fill a vacuum left when Cameron announced he would resign by October after Britain ignored his advice and voted to leave the 28-member bloc in last week’s referendum.
Triggering a leadership battle that could draw in some of his closest advisers, Cameron urged ministers to work together in the meantime.
One of Cameron’s allies, Finance Minister George Osborne, ruled himself out of the leadership race, but British media said other cabinet colleagues were poised to enter.
Cameron also formed a separate unit, staffed by public servants, to help advise Britain on its departure and its options for a future outside the EU.
“Although leaving the EU was not the path I recommended, I am the first to praise our incredible strengths as a country,” Cameron told parliament.
“As we proceed with implementing this decision and facing the challenges that it will undoubtedly bring, I believe we should hold fast to a vision of Britain that wants to be respected abroad, tolerant at home, engaged in the world.”
Asked about the possibility of a second EU referendum, Cameron said the result of Thursday’s vote must be accepted.