DAVID CAMERON will return to Brussels today to meet EU leaders as he aims to stop the UK being treated as an outsider following the shock referendum result.
In what will be his last trip to a European Council as Prime Minister, Mr Cameron will attempt to smooth the way for his successor to negotiate Britain’s way out of the EU.
He faces all 27 leaders of the EU’s member states over what could be a tense working dinner and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission who has already told Britain to leave the EU as quickly as possible.
Head of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, a man the Prime Minister clashed repeatedly with when tried to secure a renegotiation package for Britain, will also meet him for talks.
A Government source said he wants to set a positive tone to discussions around Britain leaving the EU but he will make it clear the country should not be treated as an outsider.
The source said: “He will want to make clear that as we approach these discussions the UK remains a full member of the EU as it currently stands therefore we it is down to the UK to respect its obligations, but the UK should also continue to enjoy its full rights as a member.”
“Britain continues to enjoy rights and have a voice at the table.”
It is understood that he is not keen to be drawn into discussions on the negotiations he undertook in February in which he secured Brits an emergency brake on UK welfare, cuts to red-tape and protections for the pound.
Despite calls for Britain to immediately trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to officially kick-start its so-called divorce from Europe, Mr Cameron insisted throughout Monday that will be a job for the next Prime Minister.
The source said the Brussels trip is a chance to “foster a constructive spirit around the table”.
They said: “He has built up strong relations with many of the players in recent years and he will want to encourage people to think about how both the UK and the EU needs to work now to make the best of the decision that the British people have taken.”
However Mr Cameron has been excluded from a meeting on Wednesday when the 27 heads of state discuss Britain leaving the EU in a second session.
Yesterday the Conservative Party moved forward the timetable for the election of a new leader from October 2 to September 2 with Vote Leave’s key campaigner Boris Johnson MP expected to stand.
A report by Sky News suggested last night that Stephen Crabb and Sajid Javid have teamed up to stand on a joint ticket.
Mr Cameron appeared in fine spirits as he faced MPs in the Commons to deliver a statement on the referendum result, taking every opportunity to make jokes about Labour’s shadow cabinet resignations en masse.
He said: “Although leaving the EU was not the path I recommended, I am the first to praise our incredible strengths as a country.”
He said Britain should hold fast to a vision of being “respected abroad, tolerant at home, engaged in the world and working with our international partners”.
“I have fought for these things every day of my political life and I will continue to do so,” he added.
The plunging pound and spiralling markets settled slightly on Monday as Chancellor George Osborne broke his silence to say the UK economy was in the best position possible to deal with the uncertainty ahead. However he said there would have to be an “adjustment” in the economy.
Last night Standard & Poor stripped the UK of its top credit grade, downgrading it from AAA to AA, saying the vote “will lead to a less predictable, stable and effective policy framework in the UK”.