LONDON (TIP): 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. Turnout UK-wide was 72%.
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”.
Britain would be the first country to leave the EU since its formation – but a leave vote will not immediately mean Britain ceases to be a member of the 28-nation bloc.
That process could take a minimum of two years, with Leave campaigners suggesting during the referendum campaign that it should not be completed until 2020 – the date of the next scheduled general election.
There has been a mixed reaction to Britain’s Leave decision globally. International reaction has been coming in as the UK votes to leave the European Union.
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament: “We respect the result. We have clarity for the UK to go its own way.
“Now is the time for us to behave seriously and responsibly. David Cameron has his responsibilities for his country, we have our responsibilities for the future of the EU. You can see what is happening to sterling on the markets. I don’t want the same thing to happen to the euro. ”
Geert Wilders, Dutch Freedom Party leader: “Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum!”
Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National in France: “Victory for freedom! As I have been asking for years, now we need to have the same referendum in France and in the countries of the EU.”
Malcolm Turnbull, Australian prime minister: “The impact on Australia immediately, directly, from a legal point of view, will be very limited because it will take some years for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, to negotiate an exit. However, we’ve seen already large falls on stock markets and there will be a degree of uncertainty for some time.”
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German foreign minister: “The news from Britain is really sobering. It looks like a sad day for Europe and Britain.”
As at the time of writing this report there was no comment from Indian leaders.