The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union in a shock referendum result.
After a bitter contest, the “Leave” campaign opposed by both Prime Minister David Cameron and leader of Britain’s Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn stormed to victory in the early hours of Friday morning. BBC News called the race around midnight EST.
The referendum on Britain’s EU membership divided political parties and the public. The remain campaign focused relentlessly on the economy warning Brits they would be worse off if they voted for Brexit.
The official leave campaign opted for immigration as their trump card, arguing a Brexit would allow the UK to control the number of immigrants who can come and settle from the EU. All EU member states have to allow the free movement of EU citizens — meaning anyone from any member state can live and work in any other member state.
The referendum revealed huge divisions in British society with low-income working class voters opting for Brexit while well-educated, affluent voters chose the status quo.
Before a single result was even announced, more than 86 Conservative members of parliament wrote to David Cameron urging him to stay on as prime minister whatever the result. There is widespread speculation that David Cameron will be ousted following a Brexit victory.
The UK’s Brexit vote leaves the political establishment in a state of flux. Cameron is facing a party that was deeply divided over the referendum and he has already announced that he will not stand for the 2020 general election.
Commentators and pundits claim Cameron is a lame duck and not long for Downing Street. The former mayor of London and leader of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson is expected to replace Cameron as the next leader of the Conservative Party in any future leadership contest.
In the early hours of June 23, the betting markets drifted heavily towards a remain vote. Both the pound and the FTSE 100 saw massive gains expecting a remain vote. But as the results started drifting in the pound nosedived.
The result surprised betting markets and the UK polling industry.
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