Brexit Live Coverage: Britain Votes to Leave the EU

Vote Leave campaigner
A Vote Leave campaigner demonstrates in the EU referendum campaign in Bolton, England, May 25. The U.K. voted to leave the European Union on June 23. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

This live blog continues Newsweek Europe’s through-the-night coverage of the U.K.’s vote on its membership of the European Union.

The U.K. has voted to leave the EU by a majority of 52 percent to 48 percent in a result that has sent shockwaves through the country, continent, financial markets and wider world.

As a result, British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will step down as leader of the country. The decision to leave the EU has also prompted questions about the future of Scotland within the U.K. and how the country will renegotiate its stance within Europe.

4.58pm.: Stephen Kinnock supports no-confidence motion against Corbyn

Hot on the heels of Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Aberavon, Stephen Kinnock has said that he supports a no-confidence motion against Jeremy Corbyn.

He said Labour leadership was “lackluster” in the referendum campaign.

As the no-confidence motion gets underway, trade union leaders have voiced their support for Corbyn. In a statement, the leaders said that “the last thing Labour needs is a manufactured leadership row of its own in the midst of this crisis.”

4.45pm.: Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter calls on Jeremy Corbyn to resign

Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter has said the the leader of the his party, Jeremy Corbyn, must resign.

A passionate remain supporter, Bradshaw said that Corbyn’s leadership had been “abysmal” and Friday’s Brexit result, “a catastrophic defeat.”

Many within the party have criticized Corbyn for being a “reluctant remainer,” saying that he didn’t get sufficiently involved in the campaign to stay in Europe.

Writing for Newsweek, Matthew Laza, director of Policy Network, a progressive think-tank said that the party needed its own Boris Johnson—a political figurehead that could inspire and persuade voters.

4.28 p.m.: Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell predicts election before 2017, say reports

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell is reportedly predicting that a general election will be held before the end of 2016.

David Cameron announced he would resign as British prime minister after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union and he hoped his replacement would be appointed by October, before the start of the Conservative party conference.

Several reporters are claiming on social media that McDonnell has predicted a snap election will be called to replace Cameron:

Two senior Labour figures submitted a no-confidence motion in current party leader Jeremy Corbyn earlier on Friday, but Corbyn denied he would be stepping down.

3.46 p.m.: European Parliament president wants to speed up Brexit

The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has told The Guardian that he will look to speed up the process of the U.K. exiting the European Union, saying that “a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party.”

Schulz said EU lawyers were looking into whether other member states could speed up the process of triggering Article 50, which would herald the start of a two-year period for the U.K. to negotiate its exit.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, when announcing his resignation, said that his successor—whom he said should be appointed by October—should handle the exit negotiations, while leading Leave campaigner Boris Johnson said there was “no need for haste” in beginning the formal exit process.

Schulz added that he did not foresee other countries following the U.K.’s example, despite calls for referendums in other countries by far-right politicians including France’s Marine Le Pen and Dutch politician Geert Wilders. “The chain reaction being celebrated everywhere now by Eurosceptics won’t happen,” said Schulz.

3.09 p.m.: Hillary Clinton says U.S. needs “experienced leadership” after Brexit

U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton appeared to use the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union to her advantage, saying that the White House needed “calm, steady, experienced leadership” in the wake of a Brexit.

Clinton, the presumptive Democrat nominee for the U.S. presidency, echoed Barack Obama’s claims that the U.S.-U.K. special relationship would continue despite the surprise decision, but that the first priority must be to ensure that “the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working families here in America.”

Clinton’s position differs notably from presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump, who called the Brexit vote a “great thing” for the U.K.

Here’s Clinton’s statement in full:

We respect the choice the people of the United Kingdom have made. Our first task has to be to make sure that the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working families here in America. We also have to make clear America’s steadfast commitment to the special relationship with Britain and the transatlantic alliance with Europe. This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House to protect Americans’ pocketbooks and livelihoods, to support our friends and allies, to stand up to our adversaries, and to defend our interests. It also underscores the need for us to pull together to solve our challenges as a country, not tear each other down.

3.04 p.m.: U.S. stocks suffer after Brexit vote

Stock markets in the United States have experienced sharp falls upon opening in the wake of the U.K.’s decision to exit the European Union.

The Dow Jones in New York fell by 2.6 percent—more than 400 points—in its opening minutes, while the Nasdaq also dropped by around 2.5 percent.

2.30 p.m.: Barack Obama says special relationship will continue despite Brexit

U.S. President Barack Obama has said that the country “respects” the decision of the British people to vote to leave the European Union.

“The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring,” said Obama, who previously warned that a Brexit could see the U.K. go to “the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the U.S.

Here is Obama’s statement in full:

The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy. So too is our relationship with the European Union, which has done so much to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond. The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world.

2.24 p.m.: George Osborne says G7 will ensure U.K.’s economy remains stable

British chancellor George Osborne has met with members of the G7 group and said that central banks in the member countries will ensure that “adequate liquidity” is made available to support the U.K. economy.

The G7 group—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the U.K.—facilitates economic cooperation between the world’s economic superpowers. Osborne tweeted that he had met with colleagues from the group on Friday after the U.K. voted to leave the EU and that the British Treasury and Bank of England were “monitoring [the] situation closely.”

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said earlier Friday that the institution was ready to provide £250 million ($342 million) in additional liquidity, plus further liquidity in foreign currencies. London’s stock exchange plummeted after the Brexit vote was announced and the value of the pound fell to a more than 30-year low overnight.

1.36 p.m.: Germany wants “associate status” for U.K., according to leaked document

German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that a leaked internal document from the government in Berlin showed that the country will seek “associate status” for the U.K. in the European Union.

The document, reportedly leaked from the office of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, warned that the U.K. would not be guaranteed “automatic access to the single market,” in order to deter other countries from holding their own referendums on EU membership.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier on Friday called the vote for Brexit “a break in Europe’s history, a break in the process of European integration.”

12.48 p.m.: U.S. would have preferred Remain, says Biden

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden has said that his country “would have preferred a different outcome” to the U.K.’s referendum on membership of the European Union.

The comments from Biden, who is currently visiting Ireland, represent the first indications that the White House is dissatisfied with Britain’s decision to leave the EU. U.S. President Barack Obama is yet to comment publicly on the vote, but warned during a visit to the U.K. in April that a post-Brexit trade deal between the two countries could take up to 10 years to negotiate.

Donald Trump, the likely Republican presidential candidate, has backed the Brexit vote, calling it a “great thing” that the British people had “taken back their country.”

12.11 p.m: Labour MPs table no confidence motion in Jeremy Corbyn

Two Labour MPs have submitted a motion of no confidence in party leader Jeremy Corbyn following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union.

Senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who has served as the parliamentarian for the London constituency of Barking since 1994, tabled the motion, which was backed by fellow Labour MP Ann Coffey. The motion was confirmed in a letter to the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and, while it has no constitutional force, requires a discussion in the PLP’s next meeting on Monday.

Corbyn, who was elected as Labour leader in 2015, has said he has no intention to resign after backing the Remain campaign. But Corbyn’s support for the Remain vote was sometimes ambiguous and former Labour prime minister Tony Blair blamed the party’s “lukewarm” support for the U.K. staying in the EU as one of the reasons why traditional Labour support bases voted in favour of leaving.

11.35 a.m.: Nicola Sturgeon says second Scottish independence referendum “highly likely”

Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland will begin preparations immediately to hold a second referendum on independence from the U.K. in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The first minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP said that a Brexit constituted a “significant and material change” to the circumstances under which Scotland voted to remain a part of the U.K. in 2014 by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent. As such, it was a “statement of the obvious that the option of a second referendum must be on the table and it is on the table,” said Sturgeon. The SNP leader said that such a referendum would be held within a two-year timescale of Article 50—which serves as formal notification of the U.K.’s intention to leave the EU—being triggered.

Every single voting area in Scotland voted in favor of remaining in the EU, but the Remain camp was trumped by Leave voters in northern, eastern and southwestern England, as well as in Wales.

11.10 a.m.: Boris Johnson says U.K. will not turn its back on Europe

Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson has hailed the U.K.’s decision to withdraw from the European Union but reassured Remain voters that Britain will stay “a great European power.”

Johnson is tipped by bookmakers to replace David Cameron as prime minister after the Conservative party leader—who campaigned for the U.K. to remain in the EU—announced Friday that he would step down following the Brexit vote. But the ex-London mayor did not mention whether he would seek to replace Cameron, instead praising his Eton co-student as “one of the most extraordinary politicians of our age” and “a brave and principled man.”

Saying that the EU had become “too remote, too opaque and not accountable enough to the people it is supposed to serve,” Johnson sought to reassure the 48 percent of the electorate who voted to stay in the EU. “We cannot turn our backs on Europe. We are part of Europe, our children and our grandchildren will continue to have wonderful futures as Europeans,” said Johnson.

Michael Gove, another prominent Leave campaigner in the Conservative party, also played tribute to Cameron. The U.K. is “embarking on a new chapter but one that is in line with our best traditions,” said Gove, who also said that the U.K.’s current trade relationships with the EU would continue in the interim period.

10.37 a.m.: Donald Trump calls on U.S. to follow U.K.’s “independence” vote

Donald Trump, the likely Republican candidate in the U.S. presidential race, has called on the American people to “re-declare their independence” in November’s vote after the U.K. decided to leave the European Union.

Here’s Trump’s statement in full:

“The people of the United Kingdom have exercised the sacred right of all free peoples. They have declared their independence from the European Union, and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy. A Trump administration pledges to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense. The whole world is more peaceful and stable when our two countries—and our two peoples—are united together, as they will be under a Trump administration.

“Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first. They will have the chance to reject today’s rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people. I hope America is watching, it will soon be time to believe in America again.”

10.16 a.m.: Next prime minister to be chosen from “two-person shortlist”

Sky News’s political editor Faisal Islam reported that, following the resignation of David Cameron, the next leader of the U.K. will be chosen from a two-person shortlist prepared by Conservative MPs by members of the governing party.

Cameron said that he would stay in place for the coming months but hoped that the U.K. would have a new prime minister by October, when the Conservative party holds its annual conference.

The party has around 149,800 members, according to the U.K. Parliament website, each of whom holds a vote in choosing its new leader, who would become the prime minister unless a snap general election is called in the interim.

10.05 a.m.: Tony Blair blames Labour’s “lukewarm” stance for Brexit

Former British Prime Minister and Labour party leader Tony Blair has said that the party’s “lukewarm support” for the Remain campaign contributed to the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union.

In an interview with Sky News, Blair said that the decision would have “enormous consequences” for the U.K. but refused to be drawn on whether Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn should resign his position. Corbyn backed the Remain campaign and British Prime Minister David Cameron, another Remain supporter, has already announced he will step down within the next few months.

“I think there are much, much bigger questions in the Labour party right now. We have to consider where we’re going, what our purpose is and what we’re trying to do here,” said Blair of the Labour party.

9.33 a.m.: Donald Trump hails Brexit

U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump, currently visiting the U.K., has said it is a “great thing” that the British people have “taken back their country” by voting to leave the European Union.

The Republican presumptive candidate is visiting his Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland. Trump previously said the U.K. should leave the EU “for a lot of reasons like having a lot less bureaucracy” and said that Britain’s relationship with the U.S. would not change due to a Brexit if he becomes the U.S. president.

Current U.S. President Barack Obama had warned that the U.K. would go to the “back of the queue” for a U.S. trade deal if Britain decided to leave the EU.

8.51 a.m.: Bank of England governor says U.K. economy is “well-prepared” for Brexit

The Governor of the Bank of England (BoE) has said that the U.K. economy is “well-prepared” to deal with the consequences of leaving the European Union.

Mark Carney said that while “inevitably there will be a period of uncertainty” for the U.K. economy, the BoE had made “extensive contingency plans” to deal with the result and was ready to provide more than £250 million ($345 million) in additional liquidity to financial institutions as required, as well as additional liquidity in foreign currencies. “The Bank of England will not hesitate to take additional measures as required as markets adjust and as the U.K. economy moves forward,” said Carney.

London’s stock market plummeted by more than 7 percent in reaction to the result, while the value of sterling fell overnight to its lowest level since 1985.

8.23 a.m.: David Cameron to resign as PM

David Cameron has said he will step down as British Prime Minister following the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU.

Cameron, who was a vocal campaigner for the Remain vote, said that he will stay in post for the coming months but that the U.K. should have a new prime minister in place by October, when the Conservative party conference is held.

“I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction [of leaving the EU],” said Cameron. “I don’t think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.”

Cameron promised that he would deliver a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU ahead of the 2015 general election, which his Conservative party won by a comfortable majority.

8.14 a.m.: London stock market plummets in wake of Brexit vote

London’s stock market has fallen by more than 7 percent following the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU.

The FTSE 100 index, which opened shortly after 8 a.m., fell by almost 500 points to 5,858.17. The Bank of England said that it was “monitoring developments closely” and would take “all necessary steps” to ensure monetary stability in the U.K.

The fall, combined with a dramatic decrease in the value of sterling, points to a turbulent near-future for the U.K.’s economy as the country thrashes out its new status within Europe. The City of London, the country’s economic hub, voted overwhelmingly in favour of Remain, but Leave voters in rural and northern parts of England.

8.12 a.m.: Media speculation that Cameron may resign

ITV’s deputy political editor Chris Ship has tweeted that British Prime Minister David Cameron may be planning to announce his resignation:

Cameron promised that he would deliver a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU ahead of the 2015 general election, which his Conservative party won by a comfortable majority. Speculation is mounting as to whether Cameron, a vocal Remain supporter, will be forced to resign in the wake of the Leave result, despite senior Conservative officials including Boris Johnson signing a letter to the Prime Minister that claimed he had a “duty to continue leading the nation,” whatever the result.

7.50 a.m.: Donald Tusk says Brexit prompts “wider reflection” on EU

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said that the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU will prompt a “wider reflection on the future of our Union,” but that the 27 remaining members of are “determined to keep our unity.” Tusk noted that EU laws would continue to apply until the U.K. formally leaves the EU, promising that there will be “no legal vacuum.”