London: Britain voted to leave the EU in a deadly blow to the 28-nation bloc, forcing Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday to announce his resignation in the wake of defeat in the referendum whose result triggered a panic reaction in world markets and raised questions over immigration and other issues in the UK after the divorce.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha step out of 10 Downing Street in London yesterday to announce his resignation. Pic/AFP
Brexit won finally by a wafer-thin majority of 52 per cent in the referendum held yesterday that also raised questions over the longevity of the Conservative Prime Minister who aggressively campaigned for Remain.
A European Union flag, with a hole cut in the middle, flies at half-mast outside a home in Knutsford, UK. Pic/Getty images
Shortly after the official announcement, Cameron stepped out of 10 Downing Street to make a brief statement in which he announced his intention to resign, saying a new Prime Minister will take charge in October to launch the process to leave EU.
Watched by his wife Samantha, the 49-year-old British leader 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.”
Boris Johnson, the flamboyant former London mayor who successfully spearheaded the ‘Leave campaign’, is the favourite to become the next Prime Minister.
Before Britain leaves EU, Scotland will have another chance to vote on independence. Scotland overwhelmingly voted for Remain on Thursday but will be taken out of the EU by virtue of the overall UK vote for Brexit. The result is exactly the scenario that the Scottish National Party leader said in her election manifesto.
‘United’ EU wants to part ‘soon’
European Union president Donald Tusk said, “Today on behalf of the 27 leaders, I can say that we are determined to keep our unity as 27.” While he added that this is not the moment for “hysterical reactions”, EU chiefs told Britain to start negotiations to quit the bloc “as soon as possible”.
Pound tumbles to 31-yr low: The pound yesterday collapsed and there was pandemonium on currency, equity and oil markets. Sterling crashed 10 per cent to $1.3229 at one point, its weakest level since 1985, while the greenback itself slumped below 100 yen for the first time in two-and-a-half years as traders fled to safety.
Markets collapse: The doomsday scenario appeared to be playing out as markets suffered one of their worst days since the 2008 financial crisis after final results confirmed one of the EU’s big three economies would leave the bloc after four decades. In Asian afternoon trade it was at $1.3690.
Exit process to take years: Article 50 has provision for a two-year timeframe for negotiations, with scope to extend the negotiation period if all parties involved agree. It requires the member state to notify the EU of its withdrawal and obliges the EU to then try to negotiate a withdrawal agreement with that state. The vote is not a an official notification.
Parliament would fight back: Since most of the UK’s 650 MPs favoured staying in the EU, they will not be the silent bystanders in the process. There are already moves among the 450 or so MPs who want to stay in the EU, across the Labour, Conservative, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green parties, to keep the UK in the single market in any exit negotiations. This would mean Britain would have to keep its borders open to EU workers and continue paying into EU coffers.
Uncertainty for migrants: There are some 3.3million non-British EU citizens living in the UK whose destiny now hangs in the balance. Some have speculated that, however rough the breakup, both sides will see the sense in sorting the rights of existing residents. Yet others, including Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, had warned of dire consequences ahead of the result.
London will lose jobs: A number of large companies, particularly banks, are likely to move out of London. In all, the city that has long been considered the financial capital of Europe could lose as many as 40,000 workers. Much of the exodus could come from the big US banks.
New trade accords: Quitting the EU could cost Britain access to the EU’s trade barrier-free single market and means it must seek new trade accords with countries around the world.
I think it’s a great thing that happened, an amazing vote, very historic. We’re very happy
- Donald Trump, US presidential candidate
I don’t think I’ve ever wanted magic more.
- JK Rowling, author
Dawn is breaking on an independent UK. June 23 will be our I–Day
- Nigel Farage, UK Independence Party leader
As regards the Indian economy, we are well prepared to deal with short and medium term consequences of Brexit
- Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister
Authorities across the world will (have to) pay more attention to building popular and political support for keeping an open world
- Raghuram Rajan, RBI Governor
After UK referendum, Delhi will soon have a referendum on full statehood
- Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM
The number of people who voted for Brexit
The voter turnout in the referendum