The day the world changed: Britain WILL leave the EU after voters trigger a political earthquake by backing Brexit – sparking panic in the markets and effectively ending David Cameron’s time as PM
Britain has been hit by a political earthquake after the historic EU referendum delivered clear backing for Brexit – and effectively ended David Cameron’s career.
The Leave campaign triumphed after stacking up votes across England and Wales – despite massive support for Remain in Scotland and major cities including London.
The Prime Minister is expected to give his response to the dramatic verdict shortly, with speculation that he will herald the end of his tenure in Downing Street. Ukip leader Nigel Farage has hailed a ‘victory for real people’ and declared June 23 the country’s ‘Independence Day’.
The Pound nose-dived to its lowest level against the US dollar for 31 years as traders took fright at the news, and the stock market is set to open down around 8 per cent. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has already raised the prospect of a second independence referendum in Scotland.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also coming under intense pressure over his role in the botched Remain campaign.
The dramatic developments overnight include:
Sunderland voted by a massive 61 per cent to 39 per cent for Brexit – far higher than expected. In Swansea, where Remain had been forecast to win by 10 percentage points, Leave ended up by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
Among a slew of poor results, Remain also only won by 51 per cent to 49 per cent in Newcastle, less than many had anticipated.
The final outcome of the referendum is 51.9 per cent for Leave to 48.1 per cent, with the margin more than a million votes.
The news sent the Pound plunging against the US dollar, losing around 20 cents to hit its lowest level since 1985.
The Brexit victory came despite Mr Farage admitted seconds after polls closed that Remain looked to have ‘edged’ the referendum. Boris Johnson reportedly told a passenger on the Tube that his side had lost the referendum battle.
Final polls had also predicted a Remain victory by up to 54-46.
More than 80 Tory Brexit backers have written to David Cameron urging him to stay on in Downing Street whatever the outcome.
The direction of the battle started to become clear with a shock result in Sunderland which saw the Out camp win by 61 per cent to 39 per cent. Analysis before the referendum had suggested Leave could be on track to win if they were more than six percentage points ahead.
A surprise victory for Brexit in Swansea, where the pro-EU side had been expecting to romp home, signposted a disastrous showing for Remain across Wales. Areas like Carmarthenshire decisively turned their back on Brussels.
Newcastle was less clear cut for the pro-EU side than they had hoped, seeing them sneak home by just 51 per cent to 49 per cent.
Remain had some bright spots, with chunky wins in London, Scotland and Oxford. Wandsworth in particular piled in with a massive 77 per cent in favour of staying.
However, the English cities and Scotland were not enough to offset the will of the rest of the country, and Leave passed the finishing post at 6am.
Speaking at a jubilant Leave.EU rally in central London, Mr Farage said June 23 would go down in history as ‘our independence day’.
In a remark that could prove controversial after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot dead last week, Mr Farage said the country was separating from the EU ‘without a single bullet being fired’ .
‘Dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,’ he said.
‘This, if the predictions now are right, this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people.
‘We have fought against the multinationals, we have fought against the big merchant banks, we have fought against big politics, we have fought against lies, corruption and deceit.
‘And today honesty, decency and belief in nation, I think now is going to win.
‘And we will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired, we’d have done it by damned hard work on the ground.’
Mr Farage praised Ukip donor Arron Banks along with Labour and Tory MPs and those of ‘no party’ who have taken part in the Leave campaign.
He went on: ‘And we’ll have done it not just for ourselves, we’ll have done it for the whole of Europe.
‘I hope this victory brings down this failed project and leads us to a Europe of sovereign nation states, trading together, being friends together, cooperating together, and let’s get rid of the flag, the anthem, Brussels, and all that has gone wrong.
‘Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day.’
Setting the stage for another independence referendum north of the border, Scottish First minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, and I welcome that endorsement of our European status.
‘And while the overall result remains to be declared, the vote here makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union.’