BRUSSELS (AP) — Deputy Labour Party leader Tom Watson says his party is facing an "existential crisis" in the wake of Britain's decision to leave the European Union.
Watson says the party is barreling toward a leadership contest after its chief Jeremy Corbyn refused to step down following a mass revolt against him by fellow Labour lawmakers on Tuesday.
Both major political parties in Britain are in turmoil following Thursday's vote for a British exit — or Brexit — from the EU. Prime Minister and Conservative party leader David Cameron has pledged to step down later this year, while Corbyn is only just clinging to power amid growing disaffection in party ranks.
Watson told the BBC on Wednesday: "My party is in peril."
He added that: "We are facing an existential crisis and I just don't want us to be in this position because I think there are millions of people in this country who need a left-leaning government."
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says that a 2003 French-British treaty to keep migrants out of Britain and trapped in northern France is "in no way put into question" by Britain's exit from the European Union.
Officials in northern France have seized upon the referendum results as a way to unload the thousands of migrants trying to sneak across the English Channel to Britain.
The Touquet accords, signed in 2003 between France and Britain, effectively moved Britain's border to northern France. Undoing them would return British police, customs officials and sniffer dogs to their home across the English Channel — and open the door to migrants camped in Calais and other areas along the French coast.
But Cazeneuve said after meeting the officials in the north that there's no judicial basis forcing a change in the treaty.
He said, however, he wants to meet his British counterpart to find ways to ease pressure on Calais, where migrants converge because of its port and Euro Tunnel.
U.K. attorneys have raised more than 10,000 pounds ($13,000) to fund the opening salvo in what may be a multifaceted legal fight over the ins and outs of how Britain leaves the European Union.
Lawyer Jolyon Maugham said the money, raised via crowdfunding platform CrowdJustice, would go toward forcing the government to say whether Britain's Parliament or its prime minister is ultimately responsible for invoking Article 50, the EU exit clause which acts as a kind of eject button from the 28-nation bloc.
Thursday's referendum backed a British exit — or Brexit — from the EU, but the nature and timing of a prospective Article 50 declaration is still being hotly debated.
Maugham said that he wanted to make sure Parliament had the final say on quitting the EU.
That distinction may prove important if a euroskeptic takes over as prime minister following the Conservative Party leadership contest planned for later this year. Because a majority of U.K. lawmakers actually backed the bid to remain in the EU, die-hard "remain" fans see a conscience vote in Parliament as one of several scenarios for salvaging Britain's EU membership in defiance of the referendum result.
Constitutional experts say it's a long shot, but the legal maneuvering is likely portent of things to come as Britain struggles to disentangle itself from the union.
"There'll be other shots," Maugham said.