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Incoming British prime minister expected to put ‘Brexit’ in motion soon

By Laura King Los Angeles Times

As a big blue moving van rolled up to 10 Downing Street in London and outgoing British Prime Minister David Cameron made ready to hand off to his newly anointed successor, Theresa May, Britons were fixated by questions momentous and mundane:

When would the new leader execute “Brexit”? And what would be the fate of Larry, the Downing Street cat?

May, a veteran Cabinet minister set to assume the prime minister’s post Wednesday, was swiftly put on notice that European leaders expected decisions about the timing and nature of Britain’s disentanglement from the European Union.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that providing “clarity” on the nature of Britain’s relationship with Europe should be the new prime minister’s chief task.

Despite May’s pledge that “Brexit means Brexit,” the lack of a timetable for invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon leaves room for uncertainty.

May ally Chris Grayling, who handles government affairs in Parliament, suggested the process could be lengthy.

“We get ourselves ready for the negotiation; we decide what kind of relationship we want to negotiate and then we move ahead and trigger Article 50,” he told Sky News. “We’ll do it right … and we’ll do it when we’re ready.”

Even if a long goodbye to Europe is in the works, analysts said May would have to lay out her intentions and put preliminaries in motion.

Unsurprisingly, animal-loving Britons were also obsessed with the feline angle on all this, and it soon emerged that Larry – a rescue shelter adoptee – would, unlike the outgoing prime minister, stay on at Downing Street.

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