UK’s EU Commissioner quits after Brexit vote

Jonathan Hill, the former EU Commissioner in charge of financial services and capital markets. [(European Commission)]

Jonathan Hill, the UK Commissioner in charge of financial services, has announced his resignation on Saturday (25 June), apparently bowing to growing pressure from the European Parliament following Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Lord Hill announced he will stand down, saying that “what is done cannot be undone.”

In a statement, Hill said he did not believe it was right for him to carry on with his work “as though nothing had happened,” adding he will stay for a period of weeks to ensure an orderly handover.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, said he accepted Hill’s resignation “with great regret” and appointed Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis to replace him.

Hill’s position in Brussels had become untenable, with pressure mounting on him to be sidelined following Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union in a referendum last Thursday.

In a strongly worded resolution that will be voted on next week, the chiefs of the European Parliament’s main political groups were asking that Hill be sidelined from the EU executive.

The Parliament “calls on the President of the European Commission to reallocate the portfolio of the UK Commissioner,” says the draft resolution, obtained by EURACTIV.

“How can a portfolio which is as crucial for the United Kingdom stay in the hands of a Brit. This makes no sense!” one MEP told EURACTIV.

According to Belgian Green MEP Philippe Lamberts, Hill had found himself in a situation of conflict of interest after the Brexit referendum.

The draft text also presses Britain to follow the will of British citizens, calling for “an immediate activation of Article 50” of the EU treaty at next week’s EU summit on 28-29 June.

This will kick-start a two-year negotiation process for Britain to negotiate the terms of its withdrawal from the European Union.

Parliament: No deal for a new EU-UK relationship before Brexit activation

In an effort to protect EU’s integrity, European Parliament party leaders have urged David Cameron to fully respect the British citizens’ will and “immediately” activate Article 50 of the Treaty to start Britain’s EU withdrawal process.

The draft resolution also says the Parliament “will enact changes in its internal organisation to reflect the will of the UK citizens to withdraw from the European Union.”

On Friday, Ian Duncan, a British Conservative MEP for Scotland, tendered his resignation just hours after it became apparent that Britain has chosen Brexit.

The resolution is co-signed by Manfred Weber and Elmar Brok on behalf of the European People’s Party (EPP), Gianni Pittella and Roberto Gualtieri on behalf of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Guy Verhofstadt for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts on behalf of the Greens/EFA.

Subscribe to our newsletters