“The British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path”
Image courtesy of Getty Images
In the early hours of Friday morning, the United Kingdom shocked many around the world by voting to exit the European Union.
With mere hours before the stock markets open in the U.S., networks began to call the vote for “leaving,” but only by the smallest of margins: Just 52 percent of residents voted to exit.
While it may be a small margin, it is a mighty one. As BBC reports, the referendum voting turnout was actually higher than at last year's general election.
The decision will surely divide many in Europe, and even those within the U.K.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said in part in a statement, “Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU, and I welcome that endorsement of our European status.”
Beyond physical location, it also appears age was a huge factor in the way people voted. As The Wall Street Journal reports, only 20 percent of 18-24-year-olds voted to leave, while 60 percent of those 65 and older vote to exit.
While we will have to wait to see how this plays out with the people of the U.K., we will not have to wait long to see the decision’s impact on the market.
As Bloomberg reports, the pound is already on course to have its worst day ever on record.
David Bloom, head of global currency strategy at HSBC Holdings, tells Bloomberg, “There are certain days you never forget and this will be one of them. Everyone is all over the place, it’s been a roller coaster.”
UPDATE: 12:57 AM PST, 6/23/16—British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will resign his position as the head of government, saying new leadership will ideally assume control by October when the Conservative Party Conference is set to take place. The announcement comes less than an hour after Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), called for a “Brexit government” to take power in the U.K.
Cameron was one of the most prominent members of the Remain campaign, but now that the Leave party has prevailed and Britain will begin its exit from the European Union, Cameron said that the country has so clearly decided it wishes to move in a different direction he no longer believes he is the most suitable person to lead it. A selection of his remarks are as follows:
“I fought this campaign in the only way I know how, which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel, head, heart and soul - I held nothing back. I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union and I made clear the referendum was about this and this alone and not the future about any single politician including myself. The British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.”
Ironically, Cameron was the one who introduced the in/out referendum a few years ago, and now its outcome will herald his exit from 10 Downing Street in London.