Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer acknowledged that the country's economy will be impacted by the decision to pull out of the European Union, but indicated he will remain in place to help mitigate the fallout.
"Britain is ready to confront what the future holds for us from a position of strength," George Osborne said Monday. "It will not be plain sailing in the days ahead. But let me be clear that you should not underestimate our resolve." He added. "It is inevitable after Thursday's vote that Britain's economy is going to have to adjust to the new situation we find ourselves in."
His comments came as the British pound fell about 2 per cent Monday and investors braced for more market turmoil.
Mr. Osborne's future has been thrown into question since Britons voted to leave the EU last week by a margin of 52 per cent. He campaigned ardently for the Remain side in the campaign and he had not been seen in public since the final results came in on Friday. Prime Minister David Cameron, who also backed Remain, resigned on Friday and said a new leader should be in place by October.
Mr. Osborne said Monday that he planned to participate in negotiations with the EU on a new arrangement. However, he said he would outline his role within the Conservative party in the days to come. "It is my country right and wrong and I intend to fulfill my duty to the country," he said.
He also stood by comments he made during the campaign that Britain could face severe economic consequences as a result of Brexit, including a potential recession. But he said the Treasury and the Bank of England have put measures in place to deal with the impact. And he said Britain's economy and financial institutions are in better shape to cope than after the financial crisis in 2008.
"I'm going to work very hard to make sure we mitigate the impact," he said.
However he backed away from suggestions he made during the campaign that if there was a vote to leave, he would have to introduce an emergency budget. He said any budget would now come in the fall.
Mr. Osborne also said Britain should not trigger discussions with the EU on a new partnership until a new Prime Minister is in place. Under the EU treaty's article 50, Britain must give the EU notice of withdrawal which then begins a two-year period of negotiation on a new arrangement. Many EU officials have been calling on Britain to trigger the clause immediately. But Mr. Osborne said there is no need to provide that notice, and start the negotiations, until the British government is prepared.
Boris Johnson, the Conservative MP who led the Vote Leave campaign and is a front-runner to become Prime Minister, said in a newspaper article that there was no rush to negotiate a new arrangement with the EU and little will change. And he said British citizens will still be able to work and move freely across Europe. "There will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market," Mr. Johnson wrote in a regular column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper on Monday.