David Cameron has announced he will resign as prime minister following the UK's decision to vote for Brexit.
Speaking outside No.10 Downing Street this morning, Cameron said he would step down in three months' time. "I love this country and I feel honoured to have served it," he said.
In a result that has sent shockwaves around the world, Leave won 51.9% of the total vote to Remain’s 48.1% after the final count. Turnout in the referendum was 71.8% - with more than 30 million people voting.
- David Cameron resigns as prime minister
- Jeremy Corbyn under pressure over referendum loss
- Pound crashes as markets react to Brexit vote
- Nigel Farage hails 'independence day'
Cameron said the result of the referendum meant the country needed "fresh leadership".
"I fought this campaign in the only way I know how which is to say, directly and passionately, what I think and feel, head, heart and soul. I held nothing back, I was clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the EU," he said.
Cameron added he expected the Conservative Party and government to have a new leader by the start of October. "I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers the country to its next destination," he added.
Despite an on-the-day poll predicting a win for Remain, Leave voters turned out in droves in order to take the UK out of the EU.
The Leave campaign swept up millions of votes across the north of England, the Midlands, the South East and Wales.
Remain votes in Scotland and London were not enough to hold back the Brexit tide.
Nigel Farage hailed the victory for the Brexit campaign as having been achieved "without a single bullet being fired".
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also under pressure after many traditional Labour heartlands defied the party’s call to vote Remain and instead backed Brexit.
In a leaked script seen by The Huffington Post, Labour MPs have been told to defend Corbyn in TV interviews and claim he is "far closer to the centre of gravity of the British public than other politicians".
The Brexit vote will not only likely cause political chaos in the EU, but calls into question the very future of the UK as a united country.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said that the Brexit vote "makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union" - hinting she will push for a second Scottish independence referendum.
At aparty in London in the early hours, Farage described June 23 as the UK’s "Independence Day".
He said: "This will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people. We will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired."
Gisela Stuart, the leading Labour Brexiteer, said the market turmoil that followed the Brexit vote was an "overreaction" and "hysteria".
"It’s a surprise, given that the might of the government money and everything else was thrown at us," she told the BBC of the result.
The night began with a YouGov on-the-day poll predicting a narrow win for Remain, prompting Farage to practically concede defeat.
But as results poured in, it became clear the 'Leave' campaign was outperforming 'Remain'.
Shortly after 4.30am, BBC News, ITV and Sky News all declared victory for the Brexit campaign.
In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Leave picked up 49.3 per cent of the vote (63,598) – indicating a strong showing for Brexiters in the North-East.
This was confirmed when 61.3 per cent of voters (82,394) in Sunderland voted for Leave.
Key areas of Lincoln, Coventry and Watford all backed Brexit, while Scotland and London came out for Remain.
The two sides were neck and neck until about 3.30am, when Leave pushed ahead.
Large areas such as Sheffield – the home of former Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg’s constituency – backed Leave (13,018 against 130,735).
Doncaster – where Ed Miliband’s parliamentary seat is located – also backed Brexit, with a huge 69 per cent (104,260) voting for Leave.
Other towns and cities to back Leave include Milton Keynes, Basildon, Barnsley, Bolton, Colchester, and Chelmsford.
A History Of The UK And The European Union
The UK joined the then-European Economic Community – known as the Common Market – in 1973 under Tory Prime Minister Ted Heath.
In 1975, Labour Prime Minster Harold Wilson held a referendum on the UK’s membership in an attempt to solve his party’s division on the issue.
Despite left-wing firebrand Tony Benn campaigning for an Out vote, the UK overwhelmingly backed staying in.
After Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, she pursued a policy of further integration for the UK.
In 1987 the UK signed the Single European Act, which set the wheels in motion for the European Union.
However, by the end of her tenure as Prime Minister, Thatcher was becoming more Eurosceptic – a change of heart which was used by her opponents in the Tory Party to oust her from power in 1990.
Splits over Europe among Conservatives continued throughout the 1990s, with Thatcher’s successor John Major frequently facing rebellions over the issue.
The election of Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997 seemed to show the country was travelling in a pro-European direction, but he did not take the UK into the single currency, the euro.
Throughout the noughties eurosceptism found a new home in the form of Nigel Farage and Ukip. In a bid to shore up his party’s right flank, Tory Prime Minister Davie Cameron vowed to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU if re-elected to run the country without his Lib Dem coalition partners.
The vote to leave the European Union marks the end of the UK’s more than 40 year relationship with Brussels - a relationship which has torn apart both Labour and the Conservatives.
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