Cameron decides to leave Downing Street as ‘Divided’ Kingdom leaves EU

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Cameron decides to leave Downing Street as ‘Divided’ Kingdom leaves EU

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Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron speaks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside 10, Downing Street in London on Friday.

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10, Downing Street in London on Friday. After Brexit, Prime Minister has announced his decision to quit.

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A man in a vehicle sporting a Vote Leave logo blows a kiss as he drives through Parliament Square in London on Friday.

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Ballots are sorted into trays during the E.U. referendum vote count for Westminster and the City of London at the Lindley Hall in London on Friday.

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People in Hong Kong watch as top anti-E.U. campaigner Nigel Farage (on screen), leader of the U.K. Indendence Party is seen, during a live broadcast of the Brexit vote, effectively declaring a victory for the Leave campaign on Friday.

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U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage speaks to journalists at the ‘Leave’ party at Millbank Tower in central London after polls closed and counting underway in the referendum on whether the U.K. will remain or stay in the European Union.

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‘Leave’ supporters wave Union flags and cheer as the results come in at the Leave E.U. referendum party at Millbank Tower in central London on Friday morning.

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Supporters of the ‘Stronger In’ Campaign react as results of the E.U. referendum are announced at a results party at the Royal Festival Hall in London early Friday morning.

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Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves after voting in the E.U. referendum at a polling station in Islington, London on Thursday.

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An illuminated “In or Out” sign is pictured outside a house in Hangleton near Brighton in southern England on Thursday, as Britain holds a referendum on wether to stay with or leave the European Union.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha leave after voting in the E.U. referendum at Central Methodist Hall, Wesminster on Thursday in London.

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A woman carries an umbrell past a polling station for the Referendum on the European Union in north London on Thursday.

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A poll card for voting in the U.K.’s referendum on Europe, is arranged for a photograph in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Wednesday.

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Britain’s former Prime Minister Gordon Brown takes part in a Britain Stronger In Europe rally event campaigning for people to vote to remain in the EU in Birmingham, on Wednesday.

DAVID CAMERON SAYS HE IS NOT THE “CAPTAIN” WHO WILL STEER THE COUNTRY THROUGH NEGOTIATIONS.

Britain has voted to leave the European Union to take greater control of its economy and its borders, shattering the stability of the continental unity forged after World War II.

The decision launches what will be years of negotiations over trade, business and political links with the E.U., which will shrink to a 27-nation bloc.

Official results released early Friday show the ‘Leave’ side prevailed 52 per cent to 48 per cent in Thursday’s vote, which had a turnout of 72 per cent.

The U.K. is the first major country to decide to leave the bloc, which evolved from the ashes of the war as the region’s leaders sought to build links and avert future hostility.

Financial authorities around the world have warned that a British exit will reverberate through a delicate global economy.

Live updates (time in IST):

1.31 p.m.: Bank of England chief Mark Carney says bank can provide liquidity in foreign currency if needed.

1.14 p.m.: The British government has a “democratic imperative” to call a referendum on whether Northern Ireland should leave the United Kingdom and unite with the Irish Republic, the Province’s Irish nationalist Deputy First Minister says.

“The British government now has no democratic mandate to represent the views of the North in any future negotiations with the European Union and I do believe that there is a democratic imperative for a ‘border poll’ to be held,” Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness told national Irish broadcaster RTE.

“We are now in unchartered waters, nobody really knows what is going to happen. The implications for all of us on the island of Ireland are absolutely massive. This could have very profound implications for our economy

1.06 p.m.: Matteo Salvini, Italy’s most prominent far-right politician, also hails the Brexit vote as an example his country should follow. “Cheers to the bravery of free citizens,” the leader of the anti-immigration, anti-E.U. Northern League wrote on Twitter. “Heart, head and pride beat lies, threats and blackmail. THANKS UK, now it is our turn #Brexit”.

12.55 p.m.: “The cabinet will meet on Monday, the governor of the Bank of England is making a statement about the steps it is taking.”

12.54 p.m.: “There is no need for a precise timetable today, but we should aim to have a new prime minister in place by the start of Conservative conference in October,” Mr. Cameron says choking back tears.

12.54 p.m.: “I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship in coming months, but I do not think it would be right for me to captain that ship.”

12.53 p.m.: “This is not a decision I’ve taken lightly but I do believe it is in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required,” he said.

12.53 p.m.: Cameron announces resignation.

12.52 p.m.: I fought this campaign with head, heart and soul, says Cameron.

12.51 p.m.: We must prepare for full negoatiations with E.U. with the involvement the Scottish, Weslsh and Irish, says Cameron.

12.50 p.m.: David Cameron says, “We trust the people with big decisions.”

12:40 p.m: Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says British Prime Minister David Cameron must move urgently to stabilize the pound, which was trading around $1.3706 Friday morning after plummeting to a 31—year low.

Mr. Corbyn also says Britain’s main opposition party will oppose any emergency budget or expansion of Britain’s austerity program resulting from the Thursday vote to leave the European Union.

The Bank of England says it’s ready to take “all necessary steps” to help keep Britain stable after voters chose to leave the 28—nation bloc.

Mr. Corbyn says British manufacturing depends on trade with the EU and called for careful steps to preserve British trade. He and other senior Labour figures had urged voters to remain in the EU.

12:35 p.m: “Today on behalf of the 27 leaders, I can say that we are determined to keep our unity as 27,” says European Union president Donald Tusk.

12:26 p.m.: Dutch parliamentary party leader Geert Weilders calls for Netherlands to hold referendum on its EU membership

12.07 p.m.: UKIP leader Nigel Farage says the European Union is dying after Britain votes to leave.

12.01 p.m.: U.K. Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn says Britons feel very angry at way marginalised by successive governments

11.55 a.m.: U.K. Electoral Commission declares Britain has voted to leave European Union.

11.45 a.m.: Official results show the ‘Leave’ won by 12,69, 501 votes (52 per cent).

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11.40 a.m.: RBI watching all markets, including currencies, and will provide liquidity wherever necessary: RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Brexit impact.

11.40 a.m.: Top European Union officials are hunkering down in Brussels trying to work out what to do next after the shock decision by British voters to leave the bloc.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is hosting talks on Friday with the leaders of the European Council and Parliament, along with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country holds the E.U.’s rotating presidency.

The four will try to agree on a European position on the vote, which could see a member country leave the bloc for the first time ever, ahead of a summit of E.U. leaders in Brussels starting on Tuesday.

Parliamentary leaders were meeting separately, and European commissioners the E.U.’s executive body could hold separate talks later.

11.30 a.m.: French far-right leader Marine Le Pen says there should be a similar referendum about E.U. membership in France after Britons voted to leave the 28-nation bloc.

“A victory for Freedom,” Ms. Le Pen tweeted. “We now need the same referendum in France and in EU nations.”

11.20 a.m.: India well prepared to deal with short and medium-term consequences of Brexit, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“Aim will be to smoothen volatility and minimise Brexit impact on the economy in the short-term, the FM says.

11.05 a.m.: Now that voters have chosen exit, will more referendums follow suit? Social media averse on this:

10.56 a.m.: Tally by the BBC shows Britain has voted to leave the 28-nation European Union.

10.40 p.m.: Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he regrets Britain’s decision to leave the E.U., calls it a “sad day for Europe”.

“The early morning news from #GreatBritain are truly sobering. It looks like a sad day for #Europe +the #UnitedKingdom,” Mr. Steinmeier tweeted.

10:36 a.m.: Voters in Wales and the English shires have backed Britan’s exit in large numbers.

10:35 a.m.: London and Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU but the remain vote has been undermined by poor results in the north of England.

10.30 a.m.: Dutch anti-immigration leader Geert Wilders has called for a referendum on the Netherlands’ membership in the European Union after Britain voted to leave the 28-member bloc.

“We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy,” he said in a statement.

Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn. Time for a Dutch referendum!

10.21 a.m.: 93 per cent of the vote counted, ‘Leave’ lead is impossible to reverse.

10.15 a.m.: Indian govt. prepared for all eventualities; stock market down on initial spontaneous reaction, says Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Brexit.

10.10 a.m.: Don’t think Brexit will impact India in medium or long term, says Banking Secretary Anjuly Duggal.

10.05 a.m.: After Brexit vote, Downing Street aide says “we’re in unchartered territory”.

10 a.m.: The head of the British conservative party in the European Parliament said on Friday that the British people had voted to leave the European Union and it was time to move on.

“It’s the democratic will of the British people. The British people have voted to leave. I think we now have to come together, have to move on,” Syed Kamall, a conservative member of parliament for London, tells Reuters.

9.57 a.m.: ‘Remain’ on 14.584 million votes, ‘Leave’ on 15.705 million after more than 90 per cent of votes counted, says ITV

9.54 a.m.: Sinn Fein chairman says if UK leaves the EU then the British government has “forfeited any mandate” to represent interests of the Northern Ireland people.

9.49 a.m.: Govt., RBI ready with measures to curb volatility: Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa on Brexit.

9.45 a.m.: With 329 of 382 counting centers reporting results, the ‘Leave’ side is ahead by over 900,000 votes.

9.42 a.m.: RBI intervenes in forex market with liquidity support: Sources.

9.40 a.m.: As ‘Leave’ votes pour in from Britain’s historic vote on European Union membership, post-mortems are already being produced. One expert says the ‘Remain’ side had suffered from “a degree of complacency”.

Tim Oliver, a fellow at the London School of Economics’ IDEAS foreign policy think tank says “the campaign failed to connect to ordinary people, seemed too much of an elite and London-based one.”

Mr. Oliver says the vote wasn’t just about Europe but also about a popular British backlash against the capital and its elites. He says “the E.U. was one of the things kicked by this, but there were lots of other things such as a general anti—establishment feeling, anti-London feeling.”

9.35 a.m.: Scotland has made clear that it sees its future as part of the European Union, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday, after it voted to remain while most of the United Kingdom voted to leave.

“The vote here makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union,” Ms. Sturgeon said in a statement.

“We await the final UK-wide result, but Scotland has spoken – and spoken decisively.”

9.10 a.m.: BBC predicts ‘Leave’ win, U.K. votes to leave European Union with 309 out of 382 results declared, says the Beeb.

9.06 a.m.: Reuters reports — ITV says ‘Leave’ to win

8.46 a.m.: ‘Leave’ leader Nigel Farage says June 23 will be Britain’s independence day. “The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said to loud cheers at a “leave” campaign party. “Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day!”

8.41 a.m.: British pound tumbles to 31-year low as E.U. vote results show ‘Leave’ side in lead.

8.30 a.m.: Sky News says its election analyst predicts ‘Leave’ will win referendum with 53 per cent — Reuters

8.25 a.m.: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declines to comment on the current trends of ‘Brexit’, says he would prefer to wait till the full results are out. “I think when the counting is on and you have close margin of results coming in you can not expect me to comment at this state,” he said, adding that he would rather wait for the full results.

Mr. Jaitley was replying to a question on how concerned India is about the ‘Brexit’ results at a business seminar.

8.22 a.m.: Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage tweets he now “dares to dream” of independent U.K.

The top anti-E.U. campaigner said he was increasingly confident of victory on Friday after early results from Britain’s E.U. referendum put the ‘Leave’ camp ahead.

‘I now dare to dream that the dawn is coming up on an independent United Kingdom,” he said on Twitter, hours after coming close to conceding defeat.

With 200 of 382 results declared, Brexit leads 51.7%: Pound at $1.36 on Brexit fears, lowest levels since 2009 — AFP reports

8.20 a.m.: With about half of the 382 results declared here’s a round-up of what happened so far:

First results suggest an extremely tight race, with swathes of northern England backing ‘Leave’ but parts of London and Scotland coming out strongly for ‘Remain’.

Some of the major results:

Remain’

Gibraltar: 95.9% Remain, 4.1% Leave. The tiny overseas territory, which shares a land border with Spain, was always expected to back the E.U.

City of London – 75.3% Remain, 24.7% Leave. Home of the financial services industry, again this is no surprise.

Glasgow City – 66.6% Remain, 33.4% Leave. This is a boost for the Remain camp although the turnout was lower than elsewhere, at just 56.2 percent. All of Scotland that has declared has voted Remain.

London – Several heavily populated boroughs have declared strong support for Remain, including Wandsworth (75%) and Lambeth (78.6%).

‘Leave’

Sunderland – 61.3% Leave, 38.7% Remain. This early result, showing much stronger than expected support for the Brexit camp, sent the pound plunging.

Wales – Polling experts were not sure which way Wales would go but its second city Swansea declared 51.5% Leave, 48.5% Remain, while several other areas followed.

Nuneaton – 66% Leave, 34% Remain. This town in central England is seen as a bellweather of opinion in general elections.

Blackpool – 67.5% Leave, 32.5%. This northwestern seaside resort reflects wider gains for the Brexit camp across the north of England.

8.17 a.m.: Pound’s wild ride continues, tumbles to 5-month low after hitting 2016 high. Tokyo stocks plunged more than 3 per cent in volatile trade on Friday morning. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 3.05 percent, or 495.95 points, to 15,742.40 by the break, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares slumped 3.17 percent, or 41.18 points, to 1,257.53.

8.15 a.m.: Reuters reports: ‘Remain’ on 48.7%, ‘Leave’ on 51.3% after half of of 382 counting areas plus partial BBC Northern Irish figures.

8.10 a.m.: Stomach-churning night for ‘Remain’ side

The close vote in the referendum made for stomach-churning twists and turns as the ‘Remain’and ‘Leave’ camps traded the lead in the official count. At a ‘Remain’ party in East London, Labour Party councilor Andrew Cregan said he and his guests had been through “a bit of a roller-coaster ride.”

Mr. Cregan said the partygoers had mostly gone home but he couldn’t sleep until he saw the final result.

“I’m fearful of the result,” he said. “This is the most important decision that people are voting on in my lifetime. And I don’t think that many people who have cast a vote today understand what they’re casting a vote on, or understand what’s at stake.”

8 a.m.: Reuters reports: ‘Remain’ on 48.8%, ‘Leave’ on 51.2% after 160 of 382 counting areas plus partial BBC Northern Irish figures.

7.56 a.m.: Voters seeking a British exit from the E.U. are leading, as one-third of official results have been declared in Britain’s historic referendum.

As Friday’s vote counting continued overnight, the ‘Leave’ side led with 50.9 per cent of votes with ‘Remain’ trailing on 49.1 per cent. The gap between the two sides stood at about 191,000 votes with 144 of the 382 count centers reporting results.

7.50 a.m.: U.K.’s bitterly contested referendum on whether to quit the European Union was too close to call on Friday as early results showed a deeply divided nation while the pound was hammered on financial markets.

7.24 a.m.: Sterling, stocks routed as early Brexit results put ‘Leave’ ahead

Risk assets routed as early results point to Brexit; Sterling slumps in broad selloff, yen rallies; U.K. and U.S. stock futures skid, Asian shares follow; Oil and commodities swing lower, gold strong — Reuters

7.21 a.m.: South London comes in strong for ‘Remain’ side

Early results from London are showing strong support for the campaign to keep Britain within the European Union.

A win for the pro-European forces in the cosmopolitan capital was expected, but the high margins of victory in some London areas have given a little confidence to the “remain” camp amid poor results elsewhere.

The key will be turnout in a city that saw massive summer downpours on referendum day Thursday that caused some train and traffic chaos.

The south London boroughs of Wandsworth and Lambeth saw big margins and high turnouts, with 75 per cent and 79 per cent backing the “remain” side respectively.

7.17 a.m.: Bookmakers dramatically reversed the odds on Britain leaving the European Union as early results from a historic referendum pointed to strong support for a Brexit, AFP reports.

Just hours after giving odds that indicated an estimated 90-per cent chance of Britain staying in the E.U, the main betting companies shifted to make a “Leave” vote the strong favourite.

Betting exchange Betfair moved to odds of 8/13, an implied probability of a Brexit of more than 60 per cent. Ladbrokes had odds of 4/7, an implied probability of 63 per cent.

7.06 a.m.: A slew of new voting results from England, Wales and London are supporting the campaign to pull Britain out of Europe and that means warning signs for the “Remain” camp.

The first four results from Wales have shown majorities for the “leave” camp, even in Swansea, an urban area where “remain” had been expected to perform well.

The “leave” campaign also appeared to be doing better-than-expected in northeast England, where voters overwhelmingly chose to leave the E.U.

Early indications showed high turnout in London, where the “remain” side is expected to dominate, but some commentators said turnout would have to be even higher to counterbalance the “leave” vote elsewhere.

6.45 a.m.: Though no exit polls had been commissioned, an “on the day” survey by YouGov late last night predicted a 52 per cent vote share for the Remain camp as opposed to 48 per cent for ’Brexit’ or Britain’s exit from the economic bloc.

The final national result is to be officially declared by U.K. Electoral Commission’s chief counting officer Jenny Watson from Manchester Town Hall.

6.20 a.m.: Google: Spike in searches about U.K. ‘Leave’ win

The results from the British referendum on European Union membership are still far too incomplete to draw any solid conclusions.

Google Trends says there has been a 250 per cent spike in searches for the phrase “what happens if we leave the EU” in the past hour.

6.05 a.m.: The neck-and-neck nature of the British referendum vote count had politicians and pollsters predicting an all-nighter for a nervous nation.

Senior Labour official John McDonnell is predicting a final result which will put both sides within one or two percentage points of each other.

One pollster described the vote as hanging “on a knife edge”.

Former Labour leader Ed Milliband told Sky News that the vote would be very close, saying “I think this is going to be a long night.”

5.31 a.m.: British pound drops sharply as votes come in

The British pound is getting whipsawed by volatile trading as initial results from the vote on whether the U.K. should remain in the European Union showed the race is too close to call.

The currency surged shortly after the polls closed on Thursday, climbing to a 2016 peak of $1.50 after a leading proponent of the “leave” vote indicated he thought his side was heading for a loss. But the pound sold off falling 4 cents in 5 minutes after counts from cities including Newcastle and Sunderland showed the result was far from certain.

The pound was trading at about $1.453.

5.45 a.m: Opinion polls suggest that Britons have voted in a referendum to stay in the European Union, but the first few official results put the ‘Brexit’ campaign ahead, prompting wild swings in the value of the pound. – Reuters

4.45 a.m.: The ‘Remain’ side has scored only a narrow victory in the large northern English city of Newcastle.

Official figures show that 50.7 per cent of voters in Newcastle backed U.K. membership in the European Union and 49.3 per cent wanted to leave.

The odds of a ‘Remain’ victory fell from almost 90 per cent to 72 per cent on the Betfair exchange, and the pound which had soared after polls suggested a ‘Remain’ victory fell by 1.5 cents against the dollar to $1.4830.

University of Strathclyde political scientist John Curtice told the BBC “it may be possible that the experts are going to have egg on their face later on tonight. It may be the first sign that the ‘remain’ side are not going to do as well as those early polls suggested.”

4.35 a.m.: The vote counting in the northern England area of Leeds and neighbouring Kirklees was briefly abandoned for a minute’s silence in honour of lawmaker Jo Cox, who was stabbed and shot to death in the run-up to the referendum.

The killing of Cox, a parliamentarian with Britain’s opposition Labour Party, shocked the country and prompted both the ‘Remain’ and the “leave” camps to suspend their campaigning.

Television footage showed ballot papers being set aside as counters stood up and bowed their heads late Thursday before resuming their work. Cox’s death has loomed large over the vote, darkening the tone of an already fiercely fought campaign.

4.20 a.m.: U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage says “the euroskeptic genie is now out of the bottle and it will not be put back.”

Mr. Farage appeared to walk back on his apparent concession after the British polls closed Thursday night on the E.U. referendum, telling reporters in London that “maybe just under half, maybe just over half of the country” had voted to pull Britain out of the E.U.

Still, he struck a downbeat note, saying the government’s decision to extend the voter registration deadline before the vote had probably tipped the scales in the ‘Remain’ camp’s favour.

Mr. Farage says “win or lose this battle tonight, we will win this war.” He says “we will get our independence back. We will get our country back. We will get our borders back.”

4.15 a.m.: Gibraltar, the first British territory to announce its E.U. referendum result, says an overwhelming 95.8 per cent of its voters have backed remaining in the bloc.

Gibraltar’s leader, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, says a lopsided pro-E.U. vote was always expected because of the British overseas territory’s dependence on maintaining easy cross-border travel and trade with neighbouring E.U. member Spain.

The strategic spot overlooking the western entrance to the Mediterranean was seized by Britain in 1704. Today the territory, barely 7 sq. km in size, is home to more than 30,000 British citizens.

Gibraltar electoral officials say of the 20,172 people who voted, 19,322 chose to remain in the E.U.

4 a.m.: Pollster Ipsos MORI says a survey conducted on Wednesday and Thursday suggests the ‘Remain’ side will win Britain’s E.U. referendum by a margin of 54 per cent to 46 per cent.

Earlier Thursday, the firm released a poll conducted on Wednesday that indicated a 52-48 victory for ‘Remain’. That phone poll of 1,592 people had a margin of error of plus or minus three per centage points.

The firm’s chief executive, Ben Page, said continued polling on Thursday referendum day suggested a bigger swing to ‘Remain’ that gave the 54-46 result.

3.55 a.m.: Early reports suggest a very high turnout in Britain’s E.U. referendum.

The first area to officially declare its turnout was Gibraltar, a British enclave at the southern tip of Spain that is expected to heavily back a ‘Remain’ vote. There, almost 84 per cent of eligible voters turned out to cast ballots.

Local counting officers in several areas say turnout was higher than in last year’s general election, which was 66 per cent.

The last time Britain had a referendum on its E.U. membership, in 1975, turnout was 65 per cent.

3.25 a.m.: Dozens of Conservative lawmakers who called for Britain to leave the European Union have signed a letter saying Prime Minister David Cameron should stay in office whichever side wins the membership referendum.

The letter signed by 84 legislators says “whatever the British people, decide you have both a mandate and a duty to continue leading the nation implementing our policies.”

That leaves more than 60 Brexit-supporting Tory lawmakers who did not sign.

The referendum on the E.U. has deeply split Mr. Cameron’s Conservative party. Mr. Cameron led the ‘Remain’ campaign, but senior figures including Justice Secretary Michael Gove and former London Mayor Boris Johnson backed a ‘Leave’ vote.

Many observers feel Mr. Cameron will have to resign if Britons vote to leave the 28-nation bloc.

3:15 a.m.: Vote counting begins

British Electoral Commission Chair Jenny Watson says the first stages of the vote counting process are now underway in Britain’s referendum on membership in the European Union.

Polling station workers were seen rushing ballot boxes to be counted. – AP

2:45 a.m.: UKIP’s Farage says looks like Remain to win EU vote

UKIP leader Nigel Farage, a key figure calling for Britain to leave the European Union, has said it looks like the Remain camp will win Thursday’s referendum, the campaigner told Sky News on Thursday.

Sterling rose after Mr. Farage, who has long campaigned to leave the EU, said it “looks like Remain will edge it”. Polls have now closed for the vote. – Reuters

2:40 a.m., Friday: Polls close in UK referendum on EU membership

The voting on Thursday was hampered by torrential rain and some flooding in London and parts of southeast England.

Counting will begin immediately with results expected Friday morning. Final polls suggested a close race. – AP

6:30 p.m.: Parvati Menon, Our London Correspondent gives a mid-day (at 1300 GMT) round up

Torrential rain and flooding in parts of southeast Britain, including London, saw polling get off on Referendum day to a sluggish start with momentum picking up towards midday. The prediction that bad weather will deter voters from getting to their polling booths was proven wrong as by midday reports of long queues outside polling stations had started coming in.

Around 4.5 million citizens are eligible to vote in the Referendum on the question “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or should it leave the European Union.” The referendum outcome is crucial for Britain’s future. If a majority vote to leave, Prime Minister David Cameron is predicted to step down, leaving to his successor – former London Mayor Boris Johnson most likely, to begin the process of extricating the country from the elaborate web of links to the EU.

Much will depend on how the undecided 10 per cent vote. The very last poll opinion poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori and released today puts Remain at 52 per cent and Leave at 48 per cent. Polling booths are open for voting from 7 am to 10 am, after which counting begins. The results will come in through the night, with the final result known by the morning of July 24.

There are strict guidelines on how media can report the voting process. While they can report factual developments, they are not allowed to publish/broadcast anything that could be interpreted as supporting either side. Exit polls are not allowed in the referendum.

A member of Parliament from a constituency in west London, and who did not wish to be named, told the Hindu that the turnout appears to be marginally higher in that particular constituency than it had been for the general elections last year. (For the UK voter turnout was 66 per cent in the 2015 elections).

3.48 p.m.: New EU referendum poll puts ‘Remain’ at 52% – AFP

2.05 p.m.: Voters in parts of Britain are facing floods and torrential downpours as they cast their ballots in the referendum. London is expecting a month’s rainfall in a few hours. Overnight thunderstorms flooded some streets, homes and businesses. Commuters also suffered disruptions. The Environment Agency has issued four flood warnings and 22 flood alerts across the southeastern part of the country. Sunny weather is predicted for much of the rest of the country.

Pollsters say turnout will be a critical factor in the vote. A large turnout will favour the ‘Remain’ campaign as those who waver at the end tend to go for the status quo.

1.50 p.m.: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn votes at a polling station in Islington.

1.30 p.m.: British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha vote in the E.U. referendum at Central Methodist Hall, Wesminster.

1.20 p.m.: After the voting closes at 9 p.m. GMT, sealed ballot boxes will be collected and transported to the count venue for each of the 382 local counting areas. These represent all 380 local government areas in England, Scotland and Wales, plus one each for Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

1.11 p.m.: What happens after the polls? The referendum’s outcome is hard to predict, because there is little precedent Britain hasn’t had a referendum on Europe since 1975. Opinion polls were notoriously inaccurate about Britain’s 2015 election, and vary widely. Some show a lead for the “remain” side, while others put “leave” ahead.

Once the results are in, they will be announced by region rather than by constituency.

12.31 p.m.: Turnout is considered critical in the vote, as polling suggested there were a number of undecided voters. Those who waver at the end tend to go for the status quo, which would favour the ‘Remain’ campaign.

It was raining heavily in some parts of the country, which could have an effect on turnout. Downpours and flooding swamped parts of London and southeastern Britain. London’s Fire Brigade received hundreds of calls of weather-related incidents early Thursday, including some reports of flooding and lighting strikes.

12.12 p.m.: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says there will be a big impact on the global economy if Britain votes to leave the European Union.

“It would be a very big shock, there is no doubt about that. … There will be obviously be great efforts to ensure that the consequences of that shock are minimized,” Turnbull told reporters.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters it is in Australia’s “national interest for a strong Britain, an indispensable friend and ally of ours, to remain within the European Union.”

12.05 p.m.: With no exit polls under way, the result is unlikely to begin emerging before about 8.30 a.m. IST (3 a.m. GMT) on Friday. On the eve of the historic referendum, two polls — both conducted over the Internet — put the ‘Leave’ camp ahead by one or two percentage points, well within the margin of error.

In one telephone poll, however, ‘Remain’ took a notable lead of 48 per cent, ahead of ‘Leave’ on 42 per cent with the rest undecided, according a survey by ComRes for the Daily Mail and ITV News.

11.50 p.m.: The often acrimonious, deeply-emotional campaign has exposed a gulf among Britons on membership of Europe. The Thursday editions of British newspapers captured the drama of voting day. “Independence day” was the headline of the pro-BrexitSun, while The Times called it a “Day of reckoning”.

11.35 a.m.:

Polling stations remain open until 9 p.m. GMT (2.30 a.m. IST, Friday) and an indication of the overall outcome could emerge around 3 a.m. GMT on Friday (8.30 a.m. IST).

Watch video: The Brexit question

Independence Day’

The often acrimonious, deeply-emotional campaign has exposed a gulf among Britons on membership of Europe.

The Thursday editions of British newspapers captured the drama of voting day. “Independence day” was the headline of the pro-Brexit Sun, while The Times called it a “Day of reckoning”.

Leading Brexit backer Boris Johnson, a former London mayor, who is widely touted as a future Prime Minister, insisted the ‘Leave’ campaign was on the brink of victory.

“I do think that we are on the verge, possibly, of an extraordinary event in the history of our country and indeed in the whole of Europe,” Mr. Johnson said in eastern England in a final scramble for support on Wednesday.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who has staked his political legacy on the referendum, implored people to vote to stay in the bloc at a final rally in Birmingham on the eve of voting.

“Winston Churchill didn’t give up on European democracy… and we shouldn’t walk away,” he said.

“Our economy will suffer if we leave,” he warned.

‘Out is out’

“If you jump out of the aeroplane, you cannot clamber back through the cockpit hatch. That is why anyone in any doubt should vote remain tomorrow.”

EU leaders warned Britons that there would be no turning back from a vote to quit.

“Out is out,” European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said in Brussels on Wednesday, dismissing any talk of a post-vote renegotiation of Britain’s membership terms.

French President Francois Hollande warned an exit would be “irreversible”.

A British withdrawal from the E.U. would trigger a lengthy exit negotiation, leading to the loss of unfettered access to its partners in the E.U.’s single market and forcing the country to strike its own trade accords across the world.

In Europe, the referendum has raised concerns of a domino effect of exit votes that would imperil the integrity of the bloc, already buffeted by the eurozone and migration crises.

Though many voters fret over the financial consequences of a Brexit, others relish the prospect of taking back power from Brussels and reining in high levels of immigration.

The referendum battle had paused for three days to honour the brutal murder of Jo Cox, a pro-‘Remain’ British lawmaker and mother of two who was stabbed, shot and left bleeding to death on the pavement a week ahead of the vote.

“Jo’s killing was political. It was an act of terror,” her husband Brendan Cox told around 5,000 people gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square on Wednesday on what would have been her 42nd birthday.

Thomas Mair, 52, has been charged with Cox’s murder.

On his first appearance in court on Saturday, he gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”.

A psychiatric report was requested.

E.U. leaders will open a two-day summit in Brussels on Tuesday to deal with the result and decide how to cope with the risk of similar referendums on the continent that could threaten the bloc’s integrity.

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(With inputs from news agencies)