David Cameron resigns as Britain backs Brexit

After a defeat in the EU referendum, the Prime Minister is standing down.

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David Cameron has announced his resignation. Following a defeat for his side in the EU referendum, which he called, he will stand down.

After soothing global markets and investors that "Britain's economy is fundamentally strong", and reassuring EU citizens residing in Britain, and Brits living in Europe, that there will be "no immediate change" in their circumstances, he said:

"The British people have voted to leave the European Union, and their will must be respected . . . The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered . . .

"We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union. This will need to involve the full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to ensure that the interests of all parts of our United Kingdom are protected and advanced. But above all, this will require strong, determined, and committed leadership.

"I am very proud and honoured to have been Prime Minister of this country for six years. I believe we've made great steps, with more people in work than ever before in our history, with reforms to welfare and education, increasing people's life chances, building a bigger and stronger society. Keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world, and enabling those who love each other to get married, whatever their sexuality. But above all, restoring Britain's economic strength . . .

"I made the pledge to renegotiate Britain's position in the European Union, and to hold a referendum on our membership, and have carried those things out. I fought this campaign in the only way I know how, which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel, head and 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, not the future of any single politician, including myself. But 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.

"I will do everthing I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months. 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.

"This is not a decision I have taken lightly. But I do believe it’s in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.

"There is no need for a precise timetable today. But in my view we should aim to have a new Prime Minister in place by the start of the Conservative party conference in October."

This means that Cameron will be leaving it to the new Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 and begin the process of the UK leaving the EU.

Anoosh Chakelian is the New Statesman’s Britain editor.

She co-hosts the New Statesman podcast, discussing the latest in UK politics.

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