British Prime Minister, David Cameron says he will resign after Britain voted to leave the European Union through a referendum-Brexit.
On Thursday June 23, a referendum known as Brexit was held to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union.
The goal of Brexit is to unwind Britain’s 43-year membership of the bloc, disentangle and sever the legacy of shared sovereignty, and then reshape the biggest single market on earth.
The British people obviously made the very clear decision to take a different path, with the Leave campaign securing 52 per cent of the vote.
The Leave campaign won by 52% to 48% and the referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout at a UK election since 1992.
Mr. Cameron addressed the nation in an emotional speech outside 10 Downing Street to announce that he would be stepping down by October. Statistically, England voted strongly for Brexit, by 53.4% to 46.6%, as did Wales, with the Leave campaign getting 51.89% of the vote and the Remain campaign getting 48.11%.
Scotland and Northern Ireland both backed staying in the EU. Scotland backed Remain by 62% to 38%, while 55.8% in Northern Ireland voted Remain and 44.2% Leave.
In response to growing calls from his own Conservative MPs and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who argued that Britain had not had a say since 1975, when it voted to stay in the EU in a referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold one if he won the 2015 general election.
The UK Independence Party, which won the last European elections, and received nearly four million votes – 13% of those cast – in May’s general election, campaigned for Britain’s exit from the EU.
About half of Conservative MPs, including five cabinet ministers, several Labour MPs and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party were also in favour of leaving.
The Leave campaigners argued that Britain was being held back by the EU, which they said imposed too many rules on business and charged billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return.
They also wanted Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming there to live and/or work.
One of the main principles of EU membership is “free movement”, which means you don’t need to get a visa to go and live in another EU country.
The Leave campaign also objected to the idea of “ever closer union” and what they see as moves towards the creation of a “United States of Europe”.
Following this vote, Britain’s leave from the EU will be in no less than two years. The referendum result is however not legally binding.
Parliament still has to pass the laws that will get Britain out of the 28 nation bloc, starting with the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act.
The European Union – often known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries.
It began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other.
It has since grown to become a “single market” allowing goods and people to move around, basically as if the member states were one country.
It has its own currency, the euro, which is used by 19 of the member countries, its own parliament and it now sets rules in a wide range of areas – including on the environment, transport, consumer rights and even things like mobile phone charges.
Prime Minister David Cameron wanted Britain to stay in the EU. Sixteen members of his cabinet also backed staying in.
The Conservative Party pledged to be neutral in the campaign – but the Labour Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems were all in favour of staying in.
US president Barack Obama also wanted Britain to remain in the EU, as did other EU nations such as France and Germany.
The Remain campaigners argued that Britain gets a big boost from membership – it makes selling things to other EU countries easier.
They also argued that the flow of immigrants, most of whom are young and keen to work, fuels economic growth and helps pay for public services.
They also said Britain’s status in the world would be damaged by leaving and that we are more secure as part of the 28 nation club, rather than going it alone.
The UK is one of 10 member states who pay more into the EU budget than they get out, only France and Germany contribute more. In 2014/15, Poland was the largest beneficiary, followed by Hungary and Greece.
No nation state has ever left the EU. But Greenland, one of Denmark’s overseas territories, held a referendum in 1982, after gaining a greater degree of self government, and voted by 52% to 48% to leave, which it duly did after a period of negotiation.