FRANKFURT: Britain has voted to leave the European Union, a historic decision sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world. Not long after the vote tally was completed, Prime Minister David Cameron, who led the campaign to remain in the bloc, appeared in front of 10 Downing Street on Friday morning to announce that he planned to step down by October, saying the country deserved a leader committed to carrying out the will of the people.
The margin of victory startled even proponents of a British exit. The “Leave” campaign won by 52 percent to 48 percent. More than 17.4 million people voted in the referendum on Thursday to sever ties with the European Union, and about 16.1 million to remain in the bloc.
“I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months,” Mr. Cameron said. “But I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.”
Meanwhile German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said today he regretted Britain's decision to leave the EU, calling 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," Steinmeier wrote on Twitter.
EU Parliament President Martin Schulz said he would speak with German Chancellor Angela Merkel "on how we can avoid a chain reaction" of other EU states following. "The chain reaction that is being celebrated everywhere now by euroskeptics won't happen," he said. The EU was the biggest single market in the world and "Great Britain has just cut its ties with that market," Schulz said. "That'll have consequences and I don't believe other countries will be encouraged to follow that dangerous path." "I am not shocked," he said of the results of the British referendum, adding: "We were prepared."