Brexit: Shock defeat forces Cameron out
London: Britain voted to leave the EU, toppling Prime Minister David Cameron today after the shock defeat in the referendum that triggered a bloodbath in world markets and opened a fresh debate over issues like immigration and advance of the rightwing across Europe.
Speculation mounted on his possible successor with Boris
Johnson, the 52yearold flamboyant former London mayor who
spearheaded the Leave campaign, emerging as the top contender
with other senior Conservatives like Chancellor George Osborne
and Home Secretary Theresa May also being mentioned in the
Brexit won by a waferthin majority in the referendum
held yesterday that could rewrite Britain's trade, including
market access and services, with Europe and other countries
Shortly after the official announcement of the results,
Cameron, who had gambled on the Remain campaign, stepped out
of 10, Downing Street, to announce his intention to resign,
saying a new Prime Minister should take charge in October to
launch the process to leave the 28nation bloc.
The final result, overturning over four decades of the
UK's membership of EU, was officially declared as 51.9 per
cent in favour of Brexit and 48.1 per cent in favour of
Remain by the UK Electoral Commission's chief counting officer
Jenny Watson from Manchester Town Hall.
Britain, the second largest economy in Europe after
Germany, is the second country after Greenland to quit the
The referendum turnout was declared as 72.2 per cent with
over 30 million people turning out to vote, reflecting the
highest turnout in the UK since 1992.
Watched by his wife Samantha, the 49yearold Prime
Minister, who has just completed a little over a year in his
second fiveyear term, sought to assuage investors and markets
across the world that Britain's economy is fundamentally
He also assured European citizens in Britain that there
will be no immediate changes "in their circumstances".
"There will be no initial change in the way our people
can travel, in the way our goods can move, or the way our
services can be sold," Cameron said.
"The country requires a fresh leadership to take this
forward. While it is important that I stay on to steady the
ship, it is not right to be the captain. I will do everything
I can to do to help," Cameron said as his voice choked with
"I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the
captain that steers our country to its next destination," he
The Cabinet will meet on Monday and a timetable for his
stepping down will be drawn up. Cameron said a new Prime
Minister should take charge by October to launch the process
to leave EU.
The result drove sterling down 10 per cent to a 31year
low of USD 1.3229. European stock markets dropped around eight
per cent at the opening bell. British banking shares lost a
quarter of their value in morning trade.
In his first statement after Britons voted, Johnson said
there is "no need for haste" to pull out of the EU and
asserted that nothing will change in the short term.
He also paid tribute to Prime Minister Cameron, saying
that he is "sad" at the news of his resignation but respects
Johnson asserted that the EU was a "noble idea for its
time, it is no longer right for this country".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the result a
"blow" to Europe while French President Francois Hollande said
it was a "grave test".
European Commission chief JeanClaude Juncker flatly
denied assertions that it was the beginning of the end for the
EU, troubled by growing euroscepticism, economic and migration
European Union president Donald Tusk said the bloc was
determined to stay unified after Britain voted to leave and
warned against "hysterical" reactions.
EU Parliament President Martin Schulz expressed hopes
that Britain's decision to leave the EU would not lead to
"The chain reaction that is being celebrated everywhere
now by euroskeptics won't happen," he said.
The EU was the biggest single market in the world and
"Great Britain has just cut its ties with that market," Schulz
A total of 17,410,742 voters emerged as Brexiters
compared to the 16,141,241 that sided with Remain, leading to
a victory for Brexit by 1,269,501 votes.
London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted strongly to
stay in the EU but Brexit held strong in the north of England,
the Midlands region, Wales and most English counties, sending
world markets into a shock with the Pound Sterling in
Bank of England governor Mark Carney issued a strong
statement to try and calm the turmoil unleashed on the world
"We are well prepared for this. The Treasury and the Bank
of England have engaged in extensive contingency planning and
the Chancellor and I have been in close contact, including
through the night and this morning. The Bank will not hesitate
to take additional measures as required as those markets
adjust and the UK economy moves forward," he said.
"UK banks have raised over 130 billion pounds of capital,
and now have more than 600 billion pounds of high quality
liquid assets...This substantial capital and huge liquidity
gives banks the flexibility they need to continue to lend to
UK businesses and households, even during challenging times,"
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