Brexit: The UK votes to leave the European Union in historic vote

Nigel Farage celebrates EU Referendum result
UKIP leader Nigel Farage celebrates the EU Referendum result. Photo: Twitter/Nigel_Farage

The United Kingdom has voted to end its 43 years of European Union membership in a historic referendum.

More than 30 million people voted in the referendum with turnout at 71.8%, the highest turnout at a UK election since 1992.

The Leave campaign won by 52% to 48% with England and Wales voting strongly for Brexit, while majorities in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted staying in the EU.

Markets reacted once the result was clear, with the pound falling to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985.

This pound’s fall prompted Labour’s Shadow chancellor John McDonnell to say the Bank of England may have to intervene to shore up the pound, which lost 3% within moments of the first result showing a strong result for Leave in Sunderland and fell as much as 6.5% against the euro.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who has campaigned for the past 20 years for Britain to leave the EU, described the result as the UK’s “independence day” and told cheering supporters “this will be a victory for ordinary people, for decent people”.

He also called on Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum but campaigned passionately for a Remain vote, to quit “immediately”.

While pro-Leave Conservatives including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove had signed a letter urging the Prime Minister to remain in his post regardless of the result, a Labour source said: “If we vote to leave, Cameron should seriously consider his position.”

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The Remain camp described the result as a “catastrophe”, with Labour former Europe Minister Keith Vaz telling the BBC the British people had voted with their “emotions” and rejected the advice of experts who had warned about the economic impact of leaving the EU.

He said the EU should call an emergency summit to deal with the aftermath of the vote, which he described as “catastrophic for our country, for the rest of Europe and for the rest of the world”.

Germany’s foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier described the referendum result as as “a sad day for Europe and Great Britain”.

However, Leave supporting Tory MP Liam Fox said voters had shown great “courage” by deciding to “change the course of history” for the UK and, he hoped, the rest of Europe, calling for a “period of calm, a period of reflection, to let it all sink in and to work through what the actual technicalities are.”

You can see how each region of the UK (and Gibraltar) voted by exploring the interactive map above.

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