Photo: St Cuthberts Church Polling Station, Southport
Brexit: UK votes to leave EU in historic referendum
The UK has voted to leave the European Union after 43 years in a historic referendum.
Leave won by 52% to 48% with England and Wales voting strongly for Brexit, while London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed staying in the EU.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed it as the UK’s “independence day” but the Remain camp called it a “catastrophe”.
The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 as the markets reacted to the results.
The referendum turnout was 71.8% – with more than 30 million people voting – the highest turnout at a UK election since 1992.
Wales and the majority of England outside London voted in large numbers for Brexit.
Labour’s Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said 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 – told cheering supporters “this will be a victory for ordinary people, for decent people”.
Mr Farage – who predicted a Remain win at the start of the night after polls suggested that would happen – said Thursday 23 June would “go down in history as our independence day”.
He called on Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum but campaigned passionately for a Remain vote, to quit “immediately”.
UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall said, ”This is a momentous day which will go down in the annals of history. It is the day we got our country back and put the Great back in to Britain.
“We now have the chance to take control of our own destiny and borders and we can be good neighbours with the European Union rather than tenants,” said Mr Nuttall, MEP for the North West.
“I always believed that we could do well vote to leave but the margin has been tremendous and in the North West it was almost two to one to quit the EU – a fantastic result.
“The result of this referendum will shape the direction our country will take in the first half of this century. We will be outward looking rather than inwards and we will be a global player signing our own trade deals with emerging economies.”
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