On a historic night in British politics the UK has voted to leave the European Union. Throughout Thursday 23 June, millions of people went to the polls with overall 72% of those eligible to vote taking part. A great example of democracy in action.
Farage calls the vote for Remain at 10:01pm
As the vote closed at 10:00pm, although there was no exit poll to call the result, a YouGov poll put the Remain camp on 52% of the vote with 48% on Leave. With the Remainers beginning to look confident, even UKIP leader Nigel Farage put out a statement saying that he thought remain had 'edged it.' By 10:05 this had no doubt left leave supporters rather deflated. He later changed his stance to say that the UK had declared its 'independence day.'
The Leave vote begins to overtake
As the results began to come in many areas where remain expected to take large wins didn't materialise. At around midnight Newcastle gave the signal that remain may be in trouble. It looked like a one point London would turn things around but the turnouts and corresponding votes were just not as high in places where remain felt they were strong. Once Birmingham went leave the writing was on the wall. This pattern continued and at approximately 6:00am the Leave vote passed the point where remain could not catch them and it was declared that the UK would leave the EU by 52%.
There are many constitutional issues around the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland which nows shares a land border with an EU country overall voted to stay in the EU. Sinn Fein have already said that this has implications for a referendum on the unification of Ireland. Equally, Scotland overall voted to stay by over 60% and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already stated that the will of the Scottish people is to stay in the European Union and that this will reignite the issue. Will this trigger a second referendum on Scottish Independence - only time will tell. With Wales too close to call it ended up overall with a vote to leave.
What happens next?
So what happens next? On the night 84 Brexit supporting Conservative MPs delivered a letter to Downing Street pledging their loyalty and support to David Cameron but a lot depends on where the Prime Minister sees his future. In process terms Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be invoked and the UK's exit from the European Union will be arranged. This process could take two years and the immediate decision is around the team that will lead this process. Should this team be made up of Brexit supporters such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove? Can the PM after his role in role in the campaign really in good faith get a good exit deal for the UK?