LONDON, June 24 (UPI) — With all votes counted, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union by a roughly 4 percent margin.
The vote for “Brexit,” or Britain leaving the European Union, won with 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent. Voter turnout was high at more than 71 percent, with some voters reporting being turned away.
The decision to leave is the biggest jolt to the European political establishment in decades. Reaction to the vote was negative in currency markets, with the British Pound plummeting to a 31-year low. It also puts the future of both Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in jeopardy.
Jeremy Cook, chief economist and head of currency strategy at WorldFirst was pessimistic, saying “Sterling has collapsed … It can go a lot further as well.”
London, Northern Ireland and Scotland were staunchly in support of staying in the EU, but northern England, Wales and the English shires supported Brexit by strong margins.
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has campaigned for Brexit for 20 years and predicted early Thursday Britain would likely vote to remain. But later told supporters “this will be a victory for ordinary people, for decent people” and that Thursday, 23 June would “go down in history as our independence day.”
Cameron is expected to make a speech on Friday reaching out to voters who opted for an out vote, despite his efforts, and will begin the detachment of Britain from the EU after 43 years.
Corbyn is expected to tell voters that Britain is a “divided country” and he will have to push his party toward better engagement with working-class voters whose anger over immigration, wages and public services led to the vote to leave.
With Scotland’s overwhelming vote to remain, Scottish nationalists have said they will call for a new referendum for Scottish independence, so they can join the EU on their own. Scots voted to remain with the United Kingdom in the 2014 referendum.
Leaders in Northern Ireland are also going to call for a referendum on joining the rest of Ireland, which is part of the EU.
“There is clearly a democratic imperative for a border poll in the North.”