The United Kingdom (U.K.) has decide on whether to stay in the 28-nation European Union (EU) via referendum that took place on Thursday, June 23. The voting took place from 7 a.m. GMT to 10 p.m. GMT on Thursday (11:30 a.m. IST on Thursday to 2:30 a.m. IST on Friday), after which the counting started immediately. The result of the referendum was out by the morning of Friday, June 24. Britain decided to leave the EU by a 52 percent-48 percent majority. Wales also decided to leave. However, Scotland and Northern Ireland decided to remain within the EU.
The referendum required a simple "yes" or "no" to the question: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" It was held because Prime Minister David Cameron had, in the run-up to the 2015 elections, promised that it would be held if he was voted to power.
His hand was apparently forced to quite an extent by pressure from MPs from his own Conservative party as well as those from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which ultimately received majority in the 2015 polls. These MPs were of the opinion that Britain had not had a say in this regards since 1975, when the last such referendum had been held. These people believe the EU is holding the U.K. back in many aspects, like how many migrants should come into the country and whether Britain should have full control of its borders.
As the U.K. votes to either stay in or opt out of the EU, International Business Times India, brings to you live updates of the vote and its allied developments, as well as the results later.
12:05 p.m. IST: Philip Hammond has said David Cameron will continue as prime minister, even as speculations are rife that he may have to go, given that the people have gone against his campaign, which had urged them to vote for "Remain." Meanwhile, UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who led the "Leave" campaign, says Cameron should go.
11:30 a.m. IST: Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says the country is well-equipped to deal with the ramifications of Brexit in the markets and the economy. Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das concurs.
10:50 a.m. IST: It's official! Britain has voted 52 percent to 48 percent in favour of quitting the EU. Wales has also voted "Leave."
10:10 a.m. IST: As more results come in and Brexit becomes more imminent, Indian-origin Labour MP says: "This is a day that will forever be known as day of infamy in the history of our country."
Meanwhile, Sensex has tumbled more than 1,000 points since opening.
9:30 a.m. IST: While Northern Ireland and Scotland have voted "Remain" in the EU referendum, the BBC broadcaster is forecasting that the U.K. as a whole will leave the EU.
Meanwhile, share markets across the world are affected. The Sensex in India is down by more than 900 points, while Nifty is trading below the psychological 8,000 mark.
8:30 a.m. IST: The overall turnout seems to have been 72 percent.
7:45 a.m. IST: The pound is going for an enormous tumble against the dollar. Some are saying the currency is dropping to decades-old lows!
6:30 a.m. IST: The swings are really making us giddy!
5:30 a.m. IST: The "Remain"-ders seem to have the edge now.
4:40 a.m. IST: Newcastle votes to remain in EU, and the markets are going wild!
3:30 a.m. IST: The more some things change, the more they remain the same. Isn't that what they say?
2:40 a.m. IST: As polling closes, a bit of calm returns to the U.K.
But not for long, though. The counting has begun.
1:30 a.m. IST: Here's a timely reminder to the people of the U.K.:
1 a.m. IST (June 24): There seems to be no dearth of lighter moments despite conspiracy theories that abound surrounding elections. Here's an example of quintessential British humour:
11:30 p.m. IST: For God and Country, these ladies are! Pass up a chance to vote? They are having nun of that!
8:30 p.m. IST: As is wont in any election, celebrities are exhorting people to vote. Loki is no exception!
7. p.m. IST: Polling continues, and the leaders all around the U.K. are turning up at the polling booths.
6 p.m. IST: Looks like the EU really doesn't want the U.K. to leave the 28-country bloc.
5 p.m. IST: Interestingly, polls conducted through apps seem to be widely divided over which side will win the referendum. Take a look for yourself!
4:30 p.m. IST: Britain Elects, which, as its name suggests, covers all of the elections in Britain, has quoted a poll conducted by Ipsos, Mori and phone as saying that "Remain" will get 52 percent of the votes, while "Leave" will get 48 percent of the votes.
EU referendum poll:— Britain Elects (@britainelects) June 23, 2016
Remain: 52% (+5)
Leave: 48% (-5)
(via Ipsos Mori, phone)
3:30 p.m. IST: As the day progresses, leaders from both sides of the fence are turning up at the polling booths to cast their vote.
2 p.m. IST: The possibility of the U.K. leaving the EU has ramifications for both parties. And the common man realises this. Maybe that is why someone used long-stemmed flowers to spell out the towrds "PLEASE STAY" in from of the British Embassy in Brussels.
1:30 p.m. IST: Although there will be no exit polls during the referendum, as major broadcasters, which have them conducted, are concerned over accuracy, four other polls conducted before the actual polling began show the result is still not clear.
Meanwhile, some voters are already battling the elements to get to the polling stations.
12:30 a.m. IST: Heavy rainfall has been predicted and flash flood warnings and flood alerts have been issued across south-east England and London. The number of people estimated to cast a vote is 46,499,537, making this a historic record number for a U.K. election.
11:30 a.m. IST: The polling has officially strted and Britain expects a high voter turnout with an estimated 40,000 polling stations around the country and no more than 2,500 electors per voting station.
10:30 a.m. IST: Of the two camps, "the main cross-party group campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU is headed by former Marks and Spencer chairman Lord Rose. It is backed by key figures from the Conservative Party, including Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, most Labour MPs, including party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Alan Johnson, who is running the Labour In for Britain campaign, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, the Alliance party and the SDLP in Northern Ireland, and the Green Party," according to the BBC.
The "Vote Leave," meanwhile, is "a cross-party campaign that has the backing of senior Conservatives such as Michael Gove and Boris Johnson plus a handful of Labour MPs, including Gisela Stuart and Graham Stringer, and UKIP's Douglas Carswell and Suzanne Evans, and the DUP in Northern Ireland. Former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson and SDP founder Lord Owen are also involved. It has a string of affiliated groups such as Farmers for Britain, Muslims for Britain and Out and Proud, a gay anti-EU group, aimed at building support in different communities," adds the BBC report.
9:30 a.m. IST: The referendum has already shown its effect on business, economies and commodities, well before it began. The "Leave" and "Remain" camps have seen both tides and ebbs of support, and it was one such swing that led to gold prices falling to two-week lows. It has also affected the Indian stock markets, although many have attributed that phenomenon to the exit of Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
8:30 a.m. IST: The referendum is merely three hours away. The run-up to this vote has definitely been chequered, tarnished by events like the killing of pro-Remain Labour MP Jo Cox, or pro-Brexit campaigners flying the message "Take Control #VoteLeave" over her memorial on what would have been her 42nd birthday, according to an Independent report.