Voters of the United Kingdom have chosen to leave the European Union by a margin of 52% to 48%.
While many voters believed they were voting against immigration and E.U. regulations, there will be no change in these policies for at least two years but they have set in train a series of consequences which will dominate public life in the U.K. for the foreseeable future.
- David Cameron, the U.K. Prime Minister, has resigned. He expects to hand over power to a new Prime Minister in October. That will be preceded by what could a bitter leadership battle. Cameron’s successor will make the formal application to leave the E.U. and begin the two years of negotiation that will lead to the U.K.’s departure. In 1982, Greenland with a population of 56,000 voted to leave the organization that preceded the E.U. Negotiations took three years.
- Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, is also under pressure to resign for his failure to deliver Labour voters to support remaining within the E.U. and his often half-hearted support for Europe.
- Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, said the bank will do all it can to support the Stock Exchange and the Pound Sterling, which have suffered the worse losses in decades.
- Spain will seek co-sovereignty on the British colony of Gibraltar, which is situated on the southern tip of Spain. Gibraltar has been British since 1713 but 96% of its voters said they wanted to stay in the E.U.
- Nicola Sturgeon, head of the Scottish National Party, has said Scotland must stage a second independence referendum before the U.K. leaves the E.U. The country overwhelmingly voted to remain within the EU.
- Sinn Fein, the party which shares power in Northern Ireland and commands support in the Republic of Ireland has called for a referendum on unifying the two parts of Ireland. Northern Ireland remained part of the U.K. after the rest of Ireland seceded in 1922.