LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday he will resign after Britons voted to leave the European Union despite his campaign to keep it in the bloc.
Cameron promised to try to “steady the ship” over the next months and did not give a precise timetable for his departure but said a new leader should be installed by early October.
“I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination,” the British leader said outside his Downing Street residence in London.
He said his successor should trigger the formal process for Britain to leave the European Union.
Flanked by his wife Samantha, Cameron said he had fought to retain Britain’s membership of the EU “head, heart and soul — I held nothing back”.
But he added: “The British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path and as such, I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.”
“I think it’s right that this new prime minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50,” Cameron said.
“I would also reassure Brits living in European countries and European citizens living here that there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances,” he said.
Britain voted to leave the EU, results from Thursday’s landmark referendum showed, an outcome that sets the country on an uncertain path and deals the largest setback to European efforts to forge greater unity since World War Two.
Global financial markets plunged on Friday as results from a referendum showed a near 52-48 per cent split for leaving a bloc it joined more than 40 years ago.
Sterling suffered its biggest one-day fall of more than 10pc against the dollar, hitting a 31-year low on market fears the decision will hit investment in the world’s 5th largest economy.
The vote will initiate at least two years of messy divorce proceedings with the EU, raise questions over London’s role as a global financial capital and put huge pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to resign, though he pledged during the campaign to stay on whatever the result.