Mark Carney has just made a short statement with the aim of calming the markets in the wake of the Leave vote. He restated the Bank of England’s commitment to monetary and financial stability, asserting that it was ‘well prepared’ for this result, and that ‘we will not hesitate to take any additional measures required to meet our responsibilities’.
8.30: David Cameron has just spoken from the steps of Downing Street. ‘We should aim to have a new prime minister in place by the start of the party conference’, he said, setting out a basic timetable that also included him meeting with the European Council next week, and a suggestion that Article 50 would be triggered by his successor.
8.00: In a statement broadcast on Sky, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, declared that ‘the past years’ had been ‘the most difficult ones in the history of our union’, but that his father had told him that ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’. He also explained that he had invited the ’27 members’ of the EU to an ‘informal meeting’ next week, and that there was need for them to reflect on ‘the future of our union’.
7.45: Nigel Farage has made another speech. From a prime position outside the House of Commons, he talked of his journey in eurosceptic politics, the night’s victory ‘against big politics’, the ‘massive disconnect’ that ‘still exists’ between Westminster and the rest of the country, and the need for ‘a government that gets on with the job’: a ‘Brexit government’. He also called for a new bank holiday, named ‘Independence Day’.
Michael Gove addressed the Vote Leave team, reflecting on the struggle they had faced against a ‘negative’ campaign, but primarily thanking them for having given up their time, and even jobs, to ‘make Britain better’. Boris had been expected at the event, but was notably missing.
A short statement from the Bank of England vowed that it would ‘take all necessary steps to meet its responsibilities’.
Jeremy Corbyn was interviewed by David Dimbleby for the BBC. The Labour leader took the opportunity to rail against successive governments, and called for an immediate triggering of Article 50. He claimed there were ‘some very difficult days ahead’, and that ‘the best deal possible’ was needed to ensure business and employment stability.
David Cameron is now expected to speak at some point after 8am.
7.15: Now all the results are in, here’s some more detailed information about yesterday’s voting:
- Leave: 51.9 percent (17,410,742). Remain: 48.1 per cent (16,141,241).
- Turnout is impressive at 72.2 per cent. This is not as high as the turnout for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum (84.6 per cent), but it’s higher than that for the 1975 EC membership referendum (65 per cent).
- In terms of national breakdown, England voted for Leave by nearly two million votes, Wales for Leave by about 80,000, Scotland for Remain by c.650,000, and Northern Ireland for Remain by almost 100,000.
6.30: With only four areas left to announce, and the news that Cameron is to address the nation before 8am, discussion is focusing on the following areas:
- The future of — and divisions within — the Conservative Party. And, of course, Labour: last night’s result was led by ‘the kind of people who have traditionally voted Labour’.
- The invocation of Article 50. Liam Fox has called for a ‘calm’ response, and the need for the Prime Minister to ‘maintain stability’.
- What the Leave result means for the United Kingdom. Expect a lot of sound and fury, but, realistically, there is no serious threat of division at this point.
- Expected effects on Britain’s economy and the global markets. The attention is on Mark Carney — we wait to hear his plans for the Bank of England, which he is expected to announce after Cameron’s speech.
- Oh, and the announcement that Tim Farron will be making a statement at 12.40pm…
5.45: Gisela Stuart has just made a statement on behalf of Vote Leave — in both English and German — talking of the need to ‘work together’, and for the government to ‘start to do what the people have told us to do’.
5.30: With only 24 areas left to declare, Leave are over a million votes ahead; the current and predicted result is 52/48.
While we await Cameron’s speech — and indeed statements from Vote Leave and its major political players — here are some early reactions to the news of Leave’s win:
- Paddy Ashdown: ‘God help our country.’
- Robert Peston: ‘Brace yourself for political and financial tumult like little we have ever witnessed. Expect Bank of England to step in’.
- Nicola Sturgeon: ‘While the overall result remains to be declared, the vote here makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union.’
- Declan Kearney: ‘The British Government have now forfeited its mandate to represent the north of Ireland in relation to the European Union.’
5.00: The BBC, via David Dimbleby, has joined the list of those calling it for Leave, claiming that Remain cannot now win. ITV has followed suit. Birmingham’s result is also now in, after much speculation: 50.4 per cent voted for Brexit. Remain, however, has won every area in Scotland — pointing up the regional differences that have been so clear tonight.
The IEA is the first think tank to issue a statement of reaction to the Leave vote, its director general, Mark Littlewood, having said: “Today’s vote to leave the European Union presents the UK with a great and exciting opportunity to look outwards to the rest of the world, to take a more internationalist approach and move towards a position of free trade on a global basis, with the EU but also beyond it.”
4.30: Surely, this has to be it: it looks like there might only be 3,000 votes in it in Birmingham. Yet more Northern Irish counts are continuing to go for Brexit, too, with East and South Antrim having recently joined the list.
As things stand, Leave have 51.6 per cent of the vote, with only 79 results left to declare.
Places still left to look out for include Leeds, Leicester, Northampton, York, Stoke on Trent, Windsor and Maidenhead, some significant London spots such as Croydon — and Northumberland and Cornwall.
4.00: Hi, it’s Rebecca back. ConservativeHome have called the referendum for Leave, who have just passed 10 million votes. It’s increasingly hard to see how Remain could get it now: the cities have started to fall, and Leave continues to gain medium-sized conurbations for every London borough it loses.
After an evening of remarkable votes from across the regions, Leave are more than 100,000 votes ahead in Wales with only three results left declare, and while Edinburgh has just voted Remain with 74.4 per cent, the 123,000 votes it gains there can’t make much of a dint overall.
A shocked-looking Nigel Farage has just made a speech talking of a potential ‘victory for ordinary people’.
Thoughts now go to the future of the Conservative Party. Surely, Cameron hasn’t got long left.
3.30: Some of the experts are now calling it for Leave: Michael Thrasher predicts 56 per cent Leave to 44 per cent Remain, whilst Chris Hanretty puts the probability of a Remain win at about zero per cent. ITV predict a 75 per cent likelihood of a Brexit win.
Remain’s inner London strength is producing big results, but these get eroded by a string of Leave results from rural districts and market towns. Scotland, the second barrel of the Remain shotgun, has misfired – it is voting Remain, but not by the margins expected and not on the turnout needed.
Meanwhile, a nice moment of honesty from Hillary Benn: “We didn’t want the referendum because we’re not in favour of leaving.”
3.00: John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, has been on TV arguing that Labour needs to “do something” about free movement of labour. Meanwhile, John Mann has declared that “Labour has voted overwhelmingly for Leave”.
Other things to note:
- Remain has carried three out of four Belfast districts, but North Belfast was very close and East was “overwhelmingly leave”, according to ITV. The DUP seem to have carried the much bigger chunk of the unionist vote than some had predicted.
- Overall, Leave is winning England and Wales and is only 50,000 or so votes behind in Northern Ireland – only Scotland is going decisively for Remain. In happier news for Remain, Ceredigion has provided them with their first win in Wales.
- Mike Smithson, of Political Betting, has a graphic showing how the betting has gone haywire after a string of strong Leave results, followed by some better results for Remain from London.
The FT have provided a handy graphic demonstrating how the different regions have voted.
2.30: Hello, Henry again. Some significant developments in the last half hour which suggest a real sense of momentum for Leave:
- We’ve seen a crossover in betting, with bookies now indicating that Leave is the likely result.
- A senior Labour source has told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that Brexit has carried the night.
- The pound has continued to fall sharply, following days of rallying, following a string of strong Leave results.
- Experts are noting serial under-performance by Remain across a wide range of seats.
- Anglesey has voted Leave – Remain have yet to win a single Welsh counting area.
Remain are still getting wins, but many strong areas like Glasgow (and Scotland in general) have lower turnout than predicted. Remain’s hopes now hinge on a truly heroic performance by inner London. John Curtis has said that Remain have over-performed in Lambeth and Wandsworth by about ten per cent, but will it be enough?
02.00: London is looking increasingly important — almost too important — for Remain. Yet the turnout is not looking high: in Camden it was only 65.5 per cent. This is much much lower than the figures coming in from rural England. Bearing this in mind, it’s not at all inconceivable that Brexit could happen. Indeed, Jim Pickard has just suggested that ‘London will need 150 per cent turnout for [a] positive In result’…
Other news from across the United Kingdom:
- Some interesting Welsh results: Leave came in up on projections in Merthyr Tydfil, with a result of 56-44; in Blaenau Gwent, they managed 62 per cent; even Swansea has voted for Brexit…
- Over in Northern Ireland, the DUP seem to be bringing in all the unionist constituencies for Leave: Strangford has joined North Antrim and Lagam Valley.
- Up in the North East, Leave won Hartlepool with a strong 70 per cent.
01.30: The night may have started with assumptions of a Remain win — but at the moment it’s looking increasingly promising for Leave.
Speaking of promising signs for the Brexiters, there’s some interesting news coming in from Scotland. Glasgow’s turnout was only 56 per cent. The Shetland Islands’ vote for Remain was at 56.5 per cent, as opposed to the expected 63. Apparently, it’s very tight in Dumfries and Galloway. And Leave managed to get as much as 40 per cent in Dundee — an SNP stronghold.
However, while Leave won Swindon by 11 percent, that was somewhat lower than expected.
Here are some other important moments from the past 45 minutes:
- Leanne Wood has claimed the Welsh result is on a ‘knife-edge’.
- The turn out in London is looking to be lower than expected, which won’t help Remain.
- A new political commentator has hit the scene: 90s-child-star-turned-headline-hitting-celebrity-figure, Lindsay Lohan, is live tweeting the results. Her tweets, varying from thanking the BBC for ‘explaining where Sunderland AND Swindon are’, to questions about Margaret Thatcher, are being widely shared.
00.45: Hi, this is Rebecca taking over the Live Blog.
We’re only a few results in, and the bookies are getting excited: Betfair started the evening with Remain at 90 per cent; during the last half hour, it’s been as low as 66 per cent. Sunderland’s high Leave vote, and the surprisingly tight result in Newcastle have cheered the Brexiters up no end.
A low turnout in Foyle continues the trend: while it has just declared at 78.2 per cent for Remain, it was predicted to be the second-strongest Remain area after Gibraltar.
Other news from the last half hour:
- Before we get too excited, and start to trying to apply what happened in Sunderland nationwide, sources tell us that this will most likely be balanced out by the London result. Early ideas of a big Remain win are becoming less likely, however.
- Vote Leave say that regardless of how the evening pans out, Gisela Stuart will be delivering a statement after the results are in.
- Remain are claiming that a quarter of Belfast nationalists have voted Leave.
00.15: Newcastle is in, and it’s a very close win for Remain. This result seems to have been much closer than the campaigns were expecting, and John Curtice said that “the experts might have egg on their faces”.
Along with the rumours from Sunderland is another piece of evidence that the Leave camp may be over-performing the pessimistic assessments of earlier in the night.
Other interesting news from the last half hour:
- Both Curtice and STV’s Aiden Kerr are reporting lower turnout than expected in Scotland, which is predicted to hurt the Remain score. Results from Orkney and Clackmannanshire seem to support this.
- Steve Baker MP said that he removed his name from the letter circulated by pro-Leave MPs in support of the Prime Minister in protest at Project Fear, but has confirmed tonight that he is fully behind Cameron.
- Douglas Carswell, UKIP’s only MP, has denounced Nigel Farage’s infamous refugee poster, and said that his campaigners didn’t have time to attend Arron Banks’ party because they were too busy getting out the vote.
23.45: Our first result of the night! Gibraltar return a thumping vote for Remain – doubtless helped at least a little by Spain threatening to invade if the vote went the other way. Our live tally of voting regions now stands at 1-0.
We’re also hearing that Leave’s lead in Sunderland may be much larger than expected. If true, that suggests a much rosier national picture for Leave than is being painted at present.
23.00: The current debate seems to centre on what the reported turnout figures mean for the campaigns. Andrew Neil speculates that whilst high turnout is good for Remain, exceptionally high turnout might shift the advantage back to Leave.
Meanwhile, Nigel Farage has been lampooned for appearing to reverse his position several times on whether or not Remain has won – as we go to press he seems to have conceded, un-conceded, re-conceded, and then un-conceded again.
22.30: Evening, this is Henry taking over the Live Blog. We won’t have results for a while, but here are a few straws in the wind:
- YouGov’s final poll puts Remain in the lead with 52-48. The pollsters have a lot on the line after the general election, and tonight will test their new methodology – although one-off elections like this can be harder to predict.
- Two leading Leave figures have apparently conceded defeat. Someone on Twitter claims that Boris admitted that Remain had lost on the tube, whilst Nigel Farage claims Remain has ‘edged it’ – although Arron Banks disagrees.
- The pound is ‘surging’ after the close of polls, as speculators predict a Remain vote. The currency has been performing strongly for several days as last week’s Leave lead slowly ebbed away.
- Our editor reports that 56 of the 129 pro-Leave Conservative MPs have signed a letter urging David Cameron to remain in post after the referendum, regardless of the result. With many of the remaining 73 likely to fall in later, it looks very unlikely that the 50 signatures needed to trigger a leadership challenge are there.
22.00: Welcome to ConservativeHome’s EU referendum results Live Blog. This is Paul Goodman and Mark Wallace kicking off.
- We don’t yet have any official turnout figures, but it has apparently been high in most places – that’s to say, at general election levels (66 per cent) or above. There are claims that turnout in Scotland may be 70 per cent or higher (which would be good for Remain), and suggestions that the storms in London and the South-East could have depressed turnout there (which would probably be bad for Remain, but which also may not happened).
- The key question therefore is which voters have turned out. The general expectation of politicians and campaigners we have spoken to today is that both Remain and Leave supporters have turned out in large numbers, but the distribution will obviously be vital.
- On the one hand, Leave appear to have won the lion’s share of postal votes, which make up some 20 per cent of the total. However, there is some anecedotal evidence – backed by late polls from Populus, which gave Remain a ten point lead, and Ipsos MORI, which gave it a four point lead – that there has been late movement to Remain, including among Conservative voters.
- In sum, no-one we have spoken to today has said that they believe Leave to have won. Downing Street is not saying very much, though some sources claim it believes that Remain has triumphed. The official Leave camp is playing down expectations at best. Nigel Farage is reported to have conceded that it has lost. The consensus is that the best hope for Leave is a huge subterranean mood, missed by the pollsters, for Leave among working class and poorer voters – and a big turnout from them.
Also, here are five trends to watch out for as the night goes on:
- Differential turnout. The simple fact of a fairly high turnout does not in itself tell us anything – particularly as both sides are chasing normally lower-turnout groups – Remain are banking on young voters, while Leave are banking on the less well-off. So a high turnout overall could benefit both, or either. Results watchers will have to keep a keen eye out, then, on whether turnout differs from place to place).
- England versus the rest of the UK. How heavily does England vote for Leave, and will it be enough to carry the day? Will the general perception of an overwhelming Scottish vote for Remain turn out to be somewhat overblown, as there are some signs that a sizeable minority of SNP voters have no more love for Brussels than they do for Westminster? Will UKIP’s recent surge in Wales, which carried them into the Assembly, translate into a showing which is closer to England than to Scotland? Quite how much will Northern Ireland, which is rarely polled, add to the Remain total? Scottish nationalists in particular will be watching for any opportunity.
- London versus the rest of England. Just as the potential divide between the Home Nations in the results could point to future political tensions at a UK level, the gulf between London and most of the rest of England will be under the spotlight. Looking at some of the district-by-district polling, it could turn out to be a Yes2AV coalition of London, Cambridge and Oxford backing Remain, with much of the rest of England voting Leave. With more devolution and a new raft of mayors arriving soon, that’s an interesting political picture.
- The Labour Party versus its own core voters. Many Labour MPs outside London are extremely worried by the negative reaction on the doorstep from their own traditional vote. If a large part of the Labour core vote does swing to Leave, two things are on the cards. First, another bout of internal criticism of Corbyn, seeking to blame his lacklustre campaign. Second, and more seriously, the fear will grow that this is the English equivalent of the Scottish independence referendum, which led large numbers of voters to realise their views were no longer represented by Labour. That would be the Opposition’s nightmare scenario – and Farage, among others, will be poised to try to pull those voters away from Labour permanently.
- Cameron’s appeal in the swing seats. Remain are hoping to counter their problem among the Labour vote by deploying the greatest asset: the Prime Minister. Time and again he has sought to use the same messages on risk that worked for the Conservative Party in the General Election. The final thing to watch, therefore, is whether it works – the swing seats which the Conservatives gained last year will be key indicators of the success or failure of that approach.