comscore Britain votes to leave EU: Cameron to resign; markets rocked | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Business Breaking | Top News

Britain votes to leave EU: Cameron to resign; markets rocked

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Vote Leave campaigner Boris Johnson arrived for a press conference at Vote Leave headquarters in London today. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron announced today that he will quit as Prime Minister following a defeat in the referendum which ended with a vote for Britain to leave the European Union.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron spoke outside 10 Downing Street, London, as his wife Samantha looked on today. Cameron said he will resign by the time of party conference in the fall after Britain voted to leave the European Union after a bitterly divisive referendum campaign, according to tallies of official results today.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, celebrated and posed for photographers as he left a “Leave.EU” organization party for the British European Union membership referendum in London today. On Thursday, Britain voted in a national referendum on whether to stay inside the EU.

How the UK could remain in the EU despite a vote to leave

LONDON » Britain voted to leave the European Union after a bitterly divisive referendum campaign, toppling the prime minister today, sending global markets plunging and shattering the stability of a project in continental unity designed half a century ago to prevent World War III.

The decision launches a yearslong process to renegotiate trade, business and political links between the United Kingdom and what would become a 27-nation bloc, an unprecedented divorce that could take a decade or more to complete.

“The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” said Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party. “Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day!”

Prime Minister David Cameron, who had led the campaign to keep Britain in the EU, said he would resign by October and left it to his successor to decide when to invoke Article 50, which triggers a departure from the European Union.

“I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months,” he said, “but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers the country to its next destination.”

Polls ahead of the vote had shown a close race, and the momentum had increasingly appeared to be on the “remain” side over the last week. But in an election Thursday marked by notably high turnout — 72 percent of the more than 46 million registered voters — “leave” won with 52 percent of the votes.

The result shocked investors, and stock markets plummeted around the world, with key indexes dropping 10 percent in Germany and about 8 percent in Japan and Britain.

The euro fell against the dollar and the pound dropped to its lowest level since 1985, plunging more than 10 percent from about $1.50 to $1.35 before a slight recovery, on concerns that severing ties with the single market will hurt the U.K. economy and undermine London’s position as a global financial center. Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney sought to reassure markets and promised to take “all the necessary steps to prepare for today’s events.”

Also seeking to calm frayed nerves was the most prominent “leave” campaigner, Boris Johnson. Taking a somber tone unusual for the flamboyant former London mayor, he described the EU as a noble idea which was no longer right for Britain. He said the result in no way means the United Kingdom will be “less united” or “less European.”

Even as he spoke, however, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second Scottish referendum on independence from the United Kingdom is now “highly likely.” Scotland voted in 2014 to remain a part of the U.K. but that decision was seen by many as being conditional on the U.K. remaining in the EU.

But nothing matched the shock of the people in the capital, London, where some 10 percent of the population is from the EU. Christine Ullmann, a German who worked on the campaign urging other Europeans to “Hug a Brit,” exemplified the sadness and sense of loss.

“What about Brits who believe in the goodness of their society who find themselves in a society where they can’t travel and work freely in Europe?” she said. “I feel really sad for them. They’ve lost more.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan felt it necessary to reach out to the 1 million Europeans in the capital to underscore they were still “very welcome here.”

“We all have a responsibility to now seek to heal the divisions that have emerged throughout this campaign — and to focus on what unites us, rather than that which divides us,” he said.

Britain would be the first major country to leave the EU, which was born from the ashes of World War II as European leaders sought to build links and avert future hostility. With no precedent, the impact on the single market of 500 million people — the world’s largest economy — is unclear.

Leaders from across the EU voiced regret at the British decision. Germany called top diplomats from the EU’s six founding nations to a meeting Saturday, and the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said the bloc will meet without Britain at a summit next week to assess its future. Tusk vowed not to let the vote derail the European project.

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” he said.

But already, far-right leaders in France and the Netherlands were calling for a similar anti-EU vote.

The referendum showed Britain to be a sharply divided nation: Strong pro-EU votes in the economic and cultural powerhouse of London and semi-autonomous Scotland were countered by sweeping anti-Establishment sentiment for an exit across the rest of England, from southern seaside towns to rust-belt former industrial powerhouses in the north.

“It’s a vindication of 1,000 years of British democracy,” commuter Jonathan Campbell James declared at the train station in Richmond, southwest London. “From Magna Carta all the way through to now we’ve had a slow evolution of democracy, and this vote has vindicated the maturity and depth of the democracy in our country.”

Others expressed anger and frustration. Olivia Sangster-Bullers, 24, called the result “absolutely disgusting.”

“Good luck to all of us, I say, especially those trying to build a future with our children,” she said.

Cameron called the referendum largely to silence voices to his right, then staked his reputation on keeping Britain in the EU. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is from the same party, was the most prominent supporter of the “leave” campaign and now becomes a leading contender to replace Cameron.

The result also triggered turmoil in the left-of-center opposition Labour Party. Thousands of the party’s traditional working-class supporters defied the party’s call to vote “remain,” helping hand victory to campaign for a British exit, or Brexit.

Two Labour lawmakers made a move to topple leader Jeremy Corbyn, a staunch socialist whom they accused of lending lukewarm support to the pro-EU cause. Their motion of no-confidence in Corbyn will be discussed by Labour lawmakers next week, and could lead to a vote on his leadership.

The vote constituted a rebellion against the political, economic and social Establishment. All manner of groups — CEOs, scientists, soldiers — had written open letters warning of the consequences of an exit. Farage called the result “a victory for ordinary people against the big banks, big business and big politics.”

Donald Trump praised the decision during a visit to one of his golf courses in Scotland, saying Britons “took back their country. It’s a great thing.” He likened the vote to the U.S. sentiment that has propelled him to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, saying people in the United States and the United Kingdom are angry about similar things.

“People are angry all over the world,” he said.

American President Barack Obama, who had urged Britain to stay, said the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom would endure the messy divorce from Europe that lies ahead.

After winning a majority in Parliament in the last election, Cameron negotiated a package of reforms that he said would protect Britain’s sovereignty and prevent EU migrants from moving to the U.K. to claim generous public benefits.

Critics charged that those reforms were hollow, leaving Britain at the mercy of bureaucrats in Brussels and doing nothing to stem the tide of European immigrants who have come to the U.K. since the EU expanded eastward in 2004. The “leave” campaign accuses the immigrants of taxing Britain’s housing market, public services and employment rolls.

Those concerns were magnified by the refugee crisis of the past year that saw more than 1 million people from the Middle East and Africa flood into the EU as the continent’s leaders struggled to come up with a unified response.

Cameron’s efforts to find a slogan to counter the “leave” campaign’s emotive “take back control” settled on “Brits don’t quit.” But the appeal to a Churchillian bulldog spirit and stoicism proved too little, too late.

The slaying of pro-Europe lawmaker Jo Cox a week before the vote brought a shocked pause to both campaigns and appeared to shift momentum away from the “leave” camp. While it isn’t clear whether her killer was influenced by the EU debate, her death aroused fears that the referendum had stirred demons it would be difficult to subdue.

The result triggers a new series of negotiations that is expected to last two years or more as Britain and the EU search for a way to separate economies that have become intertwined since the U.K. joined the bloc on Jan. 1, 1973. Until those talks are completed, Britain will remain a member of the EU.

Exiting the EU involves taking the unprecedented step of invoking Article 50 of the EU’s governing treaty. While Greenland left an earlier, more limited version of the bloc in 1985, no country has ever invoked Article 50, so there is no roadmap for how the process will work.

Authorities ranging from the International Monetary Fund to the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England have warned that a British exit will reverberate through a world economy that is only slowly recovering from the global economic crisis. The European Union is the world’s biggest economy and the U.K.’s most important trading partner, accounting for 45 percent of exports and 53 percent of imports.

In addition, the complex nature of Britain’s integration with the EU means that breaking up will be hard to do. The negotiations will go far beyond tariffs, including issues such as cross-border security, foreign policy cooperation and a common fisheries policy.

It will also affect the ability of professionals such as investment managers, accountants and lawyers to work in the EU, threatening London’s position as one of the world’s pre-eminent financial centers. The U.K. hosts more headquarters of non-EU firms than Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands put together.

“We believe this outcome has serious implications for the City and many of our clients’ businesses with exposure to the U.K. and the EU,” said Malcolm Sweeting, senior partner of law firm Clifford Chance. “We are working alongside our clients to help them as they anticipate, plan for and manage the challenges the coming political and trade negotiations will bring.”

Associated Press writers Raphael Satter and Frank Jordans in London and Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin contributed to this report.

Comments (31)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

    • The Scots and Northern Ireland probably will leave the UK in the near future, and take their north sea oil with them. Europe will probably try to punish the UK too by making this divorce as difficult as possible to discourage other countries from falling suit. Companies such as BP and BAE Systems will probably go bankrupt due to hyper inflation and low value of the British Pound currency and from boycotts of their products from European nations. The future not looking too good for the UK with a long recession that they will endure that was pretty much a man made disaster.

      • You are delusional krusha, BP and BAE Systems are going to do opposite from what you predict. The North Sea oil represents a mere fraction of BP’s holdings. They have holdings in 70 countries with BP America being their largest. As for BAE systems, it is one of the largest Aerospace and Defense Information Security Company’s in the world. People come to them, it is not as you would love to think, which is opposite. They could relocate to the South Pole and remain viable. Last year they only had close to 27 Billion [US Dollars] in total sales. Poor BP and BAE….yeah right
        On what I believe has happened, The Brit’s have decided that they want Great Britain to remain exactly that, Great Britain. Not some mere semblance of what it used to be. Thousands upon thousands of immigrants poring in to your country with nothing but their hands out and no way to get some kind of reign on it. That is what I think is the main reason for their Vote to leave the EU. They want to control what happens in Great Britain, not some group of Bacon Wrapped Shrimp eating bureaucrats in Brussels. Fat Cat Bureaucrats that have no idea what the everyday man and woman deals with on a daily basis. I say, Bravo Great Britain, take your Country back ! !

  • The EU is an insane construction. The various countries have different cultures economies, ideas, languages , identities so different – it is insane to create one country out of them and rule them all by Brussels arrogant bureaucrats. And promoting illegal Invasion by Millions of “refugees” from Arabia and Africa. It should just be a free trade zone. Congrats to Brits for leaving.

    • This from someone who has absolutely no idea how the trade policies were constructed, or anything else about the EU structure. Nothing.

      The UK economy is in free fall today. Their banks may collapse and take your 401k plan (assuming you have one) with them.

      This is a disaster for the world economy

      • ….said the collectivist mentality at the core of all leftists. A single day does not the market make. The UK and our 401Ks will be fine.

        • Yup, I agree as well. Beyond US broader market adjustments, the British will do just fine. They have a fine history of weathering whatever is thrown at them. Good on ’em.

      • I read that last year there were over 600,000 immigrants into GB. If you take total population into account that is even more extreme than the US.

        It is a small country and I get the impression that this is was seen to be an unforgivable burden on the British people.

        This is a country that has not been successfully invaded since the time of the Romans (The Normans of 1066 were part of the same kingdom).

        To many it seems, with a history like this, they were not about to vote for what they viewed to be a continued invasion by other means.

        They had their vote, and let’s hope the collective wisdom prevails, even without the divine guidance of Ms. Klastri!

      • UK will no doubt lose a lot of money. But they’re ENGLISHmen and not at all like the continent. It’s an Expensive and senseless political point.

        • At long last the tyranny of the global financial elite has been slammed good and hard. You can count on them to attempt another central bank based shock and awe campaign to halt and reverse the current sell-off, but it won’t be credible, sustainable or maybe even possible.

    • “Unknown”??? How then did they survive before the EU? Answer…The Brits did just fine! Socialist always FAIL,this is just the beginning of the demise of Socialism. PM Margret Thatcher quoted….”Socialism is great until they run out other peoples Money”.

      • No, the Brits weren’t just fine. But it’s better to write about things from a platform of complete ignorance, rather than learn the subject matter.

        Let me guess ….. Trump supporter?

        • klastri can never back up his opinions. All he does is name-calling other people “ignorant” and worse when they don’t share his opinions. I wonder what inferiority complex he suffers from.

      • MoiLee…Thank GOD the Brits did the right thing…also adding they didn’t listen to BlowHard O’s LECTURE because O dunno sheeeeet about ANYTHING! Whoever did listen to BlowHard O went kapoot…from Solyndra to Obamacare.
        Good going Brits!!

        • “Good going” on collapsing their own economy? That is every bit as learned as your usual analyses.

          You have such hatred for the President that you’re cheering on a depression forming in the UK.

          Good going indeed.

        • The below quote reads like something from Donald Trump’s playbook. Geert Wilders: “We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy. If I become prime minister, there will be a referendum in the Netherlands on leaving the European Union as well. Let the Dutch people decide.”

        • Klastri..aka Kurt on Kauai…KKK to me…keep your bloviating to a minimum please..no one respects your narcissistic views. You know nothing…thank Heavens you ain’t in power of anything.

    • One thing is for certain. If you have any investment in almost anything – like a 401k – it’s worth a lot less today than yesterday. Everyone here is cheering about something they don’t understand – particularly how it’s going to hurt them.

      Ignorance is bliss. Just read this comment board.

      • Ignorance is bliss. Just read klastri’s comments. Obama just doesn’t know when to mind his own business. More votes for Mr Trump.”Make America Great Again” Gold doesn’t pay a dividend. lol

        • Anyone with six figures and up in the stock market cannot afford a Trump presidency. The turmoil in Europe should serve as a serious wake-up call to anyone thinking about voting for Trump. Globalization is the future, and any attempts to derail it will come with severe economic blowback from investors in the US and the world at large. You want to bring the Dow back to under 10,000? Then vote for Trump. Anyone with sense should be valuing economic stability more than anything else right now. Any whining about the Second Amendment and immigration reform can wait.

        • Anyone with six figures and up in the stock market should be diversified and voting for Mr Trump. The banks (JPM,MS,DB) are taking the big hit and the Fed will bail them out again and keep the market afloat until the election is over.. Gold and the miners are the play for now. I like this quote, “We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy” IMO BWDIK

  • I am perfectly willing to accept the short term turmoil in the markets, for doing the right thing for your country. It wasn’t that long ago the markets were half of what they are at now. Besides, the only way it is where it’s at here in the USA is because of quantitative easing by the fed. The fed putting 80 billion dollars in the markets on a monthly basis to prop it up. Running up our national debt is what Obama will be remembered for. In his two terms he has almost DOUBLED our National debt from what it was when he took office. We have very little evidence or proof of any good spending 10 Trillion tax payer dollars has done. Next January can’t come fast enough. ABC 2016

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up