Cameron quits as market turmoil greets Brexit vote
Published 25/06/2016 | 02:30
David Cameron announced his resignation as Prime Minister yesterday after Britain voted to leave the European Union, sparking a political, economic and constitutional crisis.
Within hours of the surprise result, Mr Cameron made his statement in Downing Street, the Bank of England intervened in the financial markets to prevent a crash and the Scottish government threatened to hold another referendum on splitting from the rest of the United Kingdom.
Boris Johnson has now positioned himself as a prime minister in waiting by urging unity across the nation and speaking of the bright future that now awaits an outward-looking Britain. "We cannot turn our backs on Europe. We are part of Europe. Our children and grandchildren will continue to have a wonderful future as Europeans, travelling to the continent, understanding the languages and cultures that make up our common European civilisation."
It is now expected that Mr Johnson will stand as leader, with Mr Gove, the Justice Secretary, becoming the Chancellor in a "Brexit Government", sources claimed.
It came on a day described as the most sensational in the recent history of British politics.
As the financial markets crashed to a 30-year low, Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, said a second independence referendum was "highly likely" and there were calls for a united Ireland after both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain against the prevailing national mood.
After a night of tension which saw the Brexit campaign score major victories across middle England and the north, it became clear shortly after dawn that Mr Cameron was going to resign.
At 8.15am he gave a speech in Downing Street, flanked by his wife Samantha, who appeared tearful as her husband said it was "in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required".
Sources close to Mr Johnson say he was left "extremely upset" by Mr Cameron's resignation and "felt personally responsible" as he watched an emotional Mr Cameron tell the nation that he was no longer the right person to be "the captain that steers our country to its next destination".
While Mr Cameron called Mr Gove before making his resignation speech, he pointedly declined to make contact with Mr Johnson, only replying to a text message sent later in the morning by the former London mayor. Within minutes of Mr Cameron saying that he wanted a new Tory leader in place by the beginning of October, there was speculation about his potential successor.
Although Mr Johnson is the clear frontrunner, moderates were understood to be rallying around Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who backed Remain but was praised by Eurosceptics for keeping relatively silent during the campaign.
As the financial markets collapsed in the minutes after Mr Cameron's speech, Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, said he was prepared to take "all necessary steps" after the FTSE 100 fell by more than 8 pc - equivalent to £120bn.
The markets calmed after Mr Carney said that he was prepared to inject up to pounds £250bn into the financial system to help steady the economy following the vote to leave the European Union.
Eurosceptic ministers hailed the recovery of the markets as evidence that the economic warnings of Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne were unfounded.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faces a formal leadership contest within days after two Labour MPs submitted a motion of no confidence and scores more called on him to resign. Labour MPs were left furious after his lacklustre campaigning during the referendum campaign led droves of voters concerned about immigration to back a Brexit.
World leaders including US President Barack Obama appeared to renege on threats made to British voters ahead of the referendum. Mr Obama had previously warned that Britain would go to "the back of the queue" in trade negotiations if it left the EU but yesterday he said the two countries will remain "indispensable partners".
Mr Obama said he had spoken to Mr Cameron and was confident the UK was committed to an "orderly transition" out of the EU. British and American economic teams would work closely to ensure stability, he said.
The French government said that border controls will remain in place preventing migrant camps moving to the south-east of England.
Downing Street had warned during the referendum campaign that a Brexit could lead to migrant camps springing up in Kent if France refused to honour the 13-year-old Le Touquet agreement.
Under the treaty, Britain is allowed to conduct border controls at French rather than UK borders. In a statement on Friday, the French Government said the agreement would continue to stand.