International desk – British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his resignation after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
Cameron also announced a fresh election in October this year.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, he said he would attempt to “steady the ship” over the coming weeks and months but that “fresh leadership” was needed.
The PM had urged the country to vote Remain but was defeated by 52 per cent to 48 per cent despite London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backing staying in.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed it as the UK’s “independence day”.
The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 as the markets reacted to the results.
Flanked by wife Samantha, Cameron said he had informed the Queen of his decision to remain in place for the short term and to then hand over to a new prime minister by the time of the Conservative conference in October.
It would be for the new prime minister to carry out negotiations with the EU and invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal, he said.
“The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected,” said Cameron.
“The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.”
Bank of England governor Mark Carney said UK banks’ “substantial capital and huge liquidity” allowed them to continue to lend to businesses and households.
The Bank of England is ready to provide an extra £250bn of support, he added.
The referendum turnout was 71.8 per cent – with more than 30 million people voting – the highest turnout at a UK-wide vote since 1992.
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”, according to BBC.