The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union
The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. The official result has been announced at the voting headquarters in Manchester, giving the “Leave” vote 17.4 million votes, to 16.1 million for “Remain”. Earlier it was clear that the “Leave” campaign had secured an unassailable lead, with 52 percent of the vote compared to 48 percent for the “Remain” camp. David Cameron has said he will step down as British prime minister. Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, resigns. He aims for a new Prime Minister to be in place within three months.
It looks increasingly unlikely that article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be invoked before October this year. Once invoked, it triggers a two-year period for negotiating withdrawal from the EU. Leave took 52% of the vote, with 17.4 million votes, whilst Remain had 16.1 million votes.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and London voted to Remain but Leave took big victories particularly in Wales and the North of England. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, questions have been raised about the unity of the United Kingdom.
Around 46.5 million people were registered to vote in this referendum, only the third nationwide poll of this kind in UK history. Turnout was 72.16% - the highest since the 1997 General Election. In Europe, leaders have begun to react to the result, calling for unity during the withdrawal process.
Marion Le Pen, leader of the French Front National party, and Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, have called for referendums within their own countries. On the markets the pound plunged sharply as Leave took the lead. At its lowest point it fell by more than 10%, a low not seen since 1985. Shares fell sharply, too. David Cameron and his wife Samantha as he makes his resignation speech