‘Brexit’ Briefing: May and Leadsom Face Off to Become Prime Minister


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A view of the City of London, the financial heart of Britain.

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Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

LONDON — Britain’s next prime minister will be a woman, consumer confidence in the country has fallen sharply and President Obama argues that the trans-Atlantic alliance may be facing its most important moment since the Cold War.

Here’s your “Brexit” briefing:

Britain’s Next Leader Is …

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Theresa May, the home secretary, is competing to replace Prime Minister David Cameron and become the leader of the Conservative Party.

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Ben Stansall/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Certain to be a woman. Theresa May, the home secretary, and Andrea Leadsom, an energy minister, will vie for the support of grass-roots members of the Conservative Party. A winner is expected by September. The BBC compares the two head-to-head. A commentator in The Daily Telegraph argues that their success shows the Conservatives are far ahead of other parties when it comes to gender equality. In The Guardian, however, another writer says neither appears to be a feminist.

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Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister, is the other competitor in the Tory leadership race.

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Hannah Mckay/European Pressphoto Agency

Ms. Leadsom, in an interview with ITV News, addressed gay marriage, expansion of transportation, and war. Her supporters are confident she can appeal to the Tory grass-roots. One commentator argues that she offers right-wing Tories the chance to “take their party back.” As for Ms. May, a former Labour Party minister argues that, contrary to popular belief, she is no “safe pair of hands.”

We speculated on Thursday that British tabloids would provide some Theresa May puns. The Sun did not disappoint.

Economy and Markets

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George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking with senior bankers in London on Tuesday.

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Stefan Rousseau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Britons’ consumer confidence has tanked since the vote to leave the bloc, recording its sharpest drop in 21 years. George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, and the leaders of several major international banks issued a joint statement saying they would work together to make sure London remains an international financial center. European cities are already jockeying for its business, though.

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Sajid Javid, the business secretary, in Mumbai, India, on Friday.

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Divyakant Solanki/European Pressphoto Agency

Sajid Javid, the business secretary, is in India to open preliminary trade talks. Britain wants to hire lots of trade negotiators for that deal, and others like it. Elsewhere, a senior civil servant said the Treasury had not planned for a vote to leave the European Union, and Britain named its new European Union commissioner.

British and Continental European stocks are up, and American stock markets have followed their lead. The pound has stabilized (at least temporarily) after reaching 31-year lows, but The Financial Times asks experts how much more it could fall (it is the worst performing major currency of 2016). The weaker currency has apparently already fulfilled one demand of voters who wanted to leave the European Union: Fewer temporary laborers want to work in Britain.

Your ‘Brexit’ Reading List

Mr. Obama has written a comment piece in The Financial Times, arguing that the trans-Atlantic alliance may be facing its most “important moment” since the end of the Cold War. But he is confident that Britain and the rest of Europe will agree an “orderly transition” to a new relationship. Elsewhere, Belgium’s prime minister told The Financial Times that the European Union will not help Britain out of its “black hole,” and Germany said it would not hold informal talks with Britain over reciprocal migrant rights.

The Economist considers the arguments around who can invoke Article 50, the clause that will formally set off Britain’s divorce from the bloc. In The Financial Times, Martin Wolf argues leaving the 28-nation bloc will “make almost everybody unhappy,” and Gillian Tett says hope for a quick trans-Atlantic trade deal is misplaced. Jeremy Corbyn, the embattled Labour leader, says the Tories cannot be trusted with any negotiations with the European Union.

• In The Guardian, one commentator argues that the divide between Europeanized middle-class Britons and “marginalized millions” could tear apart the country.

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