David Cameron has resigned as Prime Minister after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
With the Leave campaign securing 52 per cent of the vote, Mr Cameron addressed the nation in an emotional speech outside 10 Downing Street to announce that he would be stepping down.
While England voted overwhelmingly for Brexit, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed Remain. Statements are expected to be made by Sinn Fein and the SNP later today calling for a breakaway from the Union. London backed Remain but the turnout was lower than expected because of bad weather.
Meanwhile on the market, the FTSE 250 index has plunged a whopping 11.7pc. The index of so-called mid-cap companies had dropped an astonishing 2,017 points to 15,309 in the first few minutes of trading.
Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “Of course it’s extremely sad news and I would have preferred him to stay on to help make this decision work but it’s his decision and I think it’s the honourable and decent thing to do.
“He lost the argument in the referendum campaign and it does answer your question as to who is best placed to take this renegotiation forward.” Mr Fallon added, however, that “it’s too early to speculate” on who will replace Mr Cameron. “What’s important now is that we reassure the country, we stabilise the markets and the economy and we reassure our allies that Britain is not turning its back on the world,” he added.
Theresa Villiers, the Northern Ireland secretary, added: “It’s truly shocking news, it’s deeply sad… I would very much have preferred David Cameron to have been steering this country through the next few years. I entirely respect his decision but I think it’s a sad day for the country that he has decided to stand down.”