Britain has voted to leave the European Union to take greater control of its economy and its borders. The outcome would shatter the stability of the continental unity forged after World War II and would set the country on an uncertain path.
Britain’s exit will affect the British economy, immigration policy, and much more. However, it will take years for the full consequences to become clear.
Official results show the ‘Leave’ side held a 52 percent to 48 percent lead in vote on June 23, which had a turnout of 72 per cent. According to BBC, while 13.1 million votes were counted in favor of leaving and 12.2 million were in favor of remaining.
Following the news the value of the British pound plummeted.
The euro also slumped against the dollar on concerns that the outcome would do wider economic and political damage to what would become a 27-member union. Investors poured into safe haven assets including gold, and the yen surged.
Though opinion polls showed either side in a position to win, the outcome stunned much of Britain, Europe and the trans-Atlantic alliance.
“Dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, said.
Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party ibtimes
However, a Brexit vote is not legally binding, and there are a few ways it could theoretically be blocked or overturned.
The result would also weaken Prime Minister David Cameron, who led the charge for Britain to remain a member of the European Union. Though more than 80 Tory MPs signed a letter saying Cameron has a “mandate and a duty” to remain in post, scores of Conservatives now believe he cannot stay in Number 10 for long.
British PM David Cameroon dailysignal
Economists had predicted that a vote to leave the 28-member bloc could do substantial damage to the British economy.
Britain’s exit will also severely impact the credibility of a bloc already under pressure from slow growth, high unemployment, the migrant crisis, Greece’s debt woes and the conflict in Ukraine. With existing trade and immigration rules remaining in place, the withdrawal process is expected to be complex and contentious.
From the European Union perspective, it would be a disaster, as it would raise questions about the cohesion and future of a bloc that represents, with NATO, Europe’s postwar structure.
Britain is the second-largest economy after Germany in the European Union, a nuclear power with a seat on the United Nations Security Council, an advocate of free-market economics and a close ally of the United States.