UK votes to leave the European Union, David Cameron resigns as PM

Britain leaving the European Union
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to the media in front of 10 Downing street, London, Friday, June, 24, 2016, as he announces he will resign by the time of the Conservative Party conference in the autumn, following the result of the EU referendum, in which the Britain voted to leave the EU. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

A senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard has described Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as payback for “years of colonialism and crimes against humanity.”

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency quoted Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri making the comment Friday after the results of the EU referendum were announced. Jazayeri also serves as the deputy chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces.

Meanwhile, an official in President Hassan Rouhani’s office, Hamid Aboutalebi, called the vote a “big earthquake” that’s part of the “domino” collapse of the EU.

Iran’s government is still suspicious of Britain over its role in backing the 1953 coup that installed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power. A British-Iranian woman remains held in the country by the Revolutionary Guard.


1 p.m.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants Europeans living in the British capital to feel welcome in the city despite the result of the EU referendum.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Khan praised London’s “nearly one million European citizens” as hard-working, tax-paying residents contributing to civic and cultural life.

“You are welcome here. We value the enormous contribution you make to our city and that will not change as a result of this referendum,” Khan said.

“We all have a responsibility to now seek to heal the divisions that have emerged throughout this campaign — and to focus on what unites us, rather than that which divides us.”


12:50 p.m.

The leader of Poland’s ruling party says that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union makes it evident that the bloc needs a new treaty that would regulate its operations better.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski said a constructive reaction in the form of new, more precise regulations is needed to the crisis that was exposed by the British vote.

“The conclusion is: we need a new European treaty,” Kaczynski told a news conference.

He said EU laws should be made more precise and become the sole basis for the group’s operations, as they are now sometimes based on arbitrary decisions. Also the principle of general consensus should be replaced by a strong majority, to avoid delays in decision-making, he said.

He suggested top EU leaders should consider leaving their posts.


12:45 p.m.

The leader of an Italian anti-immigrant party is calling the European Union “a cage of crazies” that is killing jobs and citizen dignity.

Matteo Salvini, who heads the right-wing Northern League, said Friday that the European Union is “the death of our work, our dignity.”

He says his party will push for reviewing and overhauling EU treaties dealing with the euro common currency, trade and immigration.

The League used to be a key ally of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi. But it has increasingly become more right-wing as it seeks alliances with far-right parties across Europe.


12:40 p.m.

Spain’s acting Foreign Minister says his country should make the most of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union to press its claim for sovereignty of the disputed colony of Gibraltar.

Margallo told Onda Cero radio Friday that Spain should again push its offer of a period of co-sovereignty for Gibraltar’s 30,000 inhabitants prior to becoming Spanish again.

Margallo, whose conservative Popular Party runs Spain’s caretaker government ahead of repeat elections Sunday, said the Brexit vote, while regrettable, completely changes the panorama regarding Gibraltar.

“I hope the joint sovereignty formula, or to put it clearly, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer rather than further away,” said Margallo.

Margallo said as soon as the EU-UK divorce is completed, EU treaties would no longer apply and Gibraltar would be considered a third country, outside the single market. He said Spain should then seek for Gibraltar to be excluded from future Britain-EU negotiations and treated as a strictly bilateral issue with Spain.

Gibraltar, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, depends heavily on Spain for produce and supplies. English and Spanish are spoken on the Rock and thousands of Spaniards cross over the border each day to work.

Spain ceded Gibraltar’s sovereignty to Britain in a 1713 treaty but has persistently sought its return ever since.


12:35 p.m.

Romania’s president says the country will look after Romanians living in Britain after it voted to leave the European Union.

Klaus Iohannis said Friday it would take Britain two years of exit negotiations and “we will negotiate so that Romania’s interests are protected and we will look after Romanians who live and work in Britain.”

There are officially 150,000 Romanians working in Britain, but unofficially there are double that.

Iohannis said he regretted Britain’s decision to leave the EU, but urged Romanians to “not to worry excessively,” adding the economic impact on the Romanian leu was “small and manageable.”

He spoke after meeting Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, the central bank governor Mugur Isarescu and party leaders.


12:30 p.m.

Polish President Andrzej Duda says Britain’s decision to exit the European Union is “sad news” that should spur the bloc to counteract any other nations wishing to leave.

“We must do everything to avoid the domino effect, a situation when other member nations also say that they don’t want to be in the European Union any longer,” Duda said Friday in his hometown of Krakow.

He said the European leaders should analyze what made Britain vote to leave.

“Maybe (the EU) imposes too much on its members, maybe the citizens believe that it does not operate in a democratic way and they have no right to speak on matters important to them, maybe they believe that too many decisions are taken arbitrarily in Brussels..”


12:20 p.m.

Italy’s foreign minister calls the British vote for an EU exit a “wakeup” call to the rest of the bloc.

Minister Paolo Gentiloni says Italy, an EU founding member, will push so that after this “grave decision” Brussels won’t react with “ordinary administration” of affairs.

Instead, Gentiloni said Friday, Italy contends the challenge to respond to the British exit, “which is negative for us,” must be to relaunch “common policies for growth, for migration and common defense.”

For Italy, a staunch proponent of the European Union, the vote result was shocking.

Said SkyTG24 TV, “it’s as if Big Ben stopped.”


12:15 p.m.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg says British voters’ decision to leave the EU will be “a boost for extreme forces that want less cooperation in Europe.”

Solberg whose country is not an EU member, said Friday they are “anti-establishment, anti-globalization, anti-EU forces (…) that can be pretty extreme.”

Oil-rich nation Norway has signed up to the European Economic Area agreement and thereby access to the EU’s huge single market.

In neighboring Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said “we must build a Europe for the people, by the people, with the people.”


12:15 p.m.

Germany’s foreign minister says the European Union must avoid falling into hysteria or shock after British voters decided to leave.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said as he arrived Friday at a meeting with EU counterparts: “What matters now is that we keep Europe together.”

He said that officials don’t yet have answers to all the questions that arise from the British vote, but that people want the EU to respond to the problems they see.

Steinmeier says leaders should focus on finding “common European solutions where they are missing” — for example to the migrant crisis and doing more to boost jobs and growth.


12:10 p.m.

The European Union’s Dutch presidency says Europe must pay more attention to people’s concerns about jobs, security and migration in the wake of the British vote to leave the EU.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said Friday that “what we have to do here is not business as usual, but look at the real concerns of citizens.”

Koenders warned of two short-term dangers: “those who want to take Europe apart, and the others saying we have to all at once go to even more Brussels, even more integration.”

He expressed hope that the process of negotiating Britain’s exit would be “transparent, predictable and as soon as possible.”


12:10 p.m.

Austria’s chancellor says Britain’s decision to leave the EU shows the necessity for reforms, particularly in boosting European economies, stemming unemployment and improving working conditions.

Christian Kern says the EU needs “a reform process with a clear direction” that will be supported by citizens of member countries.

His statement issued Thursday says such themes must be discussed in Brussels but adds national governments must also provide input “because we have now seen how quickly people’s trust in the EU can be lost.”

Rising disenchantment with the EU in Austria contributed to the strong showing last month of a euroskeptic populist candidate who came within a few percentage points of winning presidential elections.


12:05 p.m.

Slovenia’s prime minister says Britain’s exit from the European Union will eventually help consolidate the bloc.

Miro Cerar said Friday that the British vote to leave the EU will cause “a short period of relative uncertainty of international markets.”

Cerar added that after that it will lead to “further consolidation of the EU and encouragement to its renewal.”

“It is time to refocus seriously on our common future, in particular on those concrete elements to the benefit of our citizens which bond us and make us stronger,” Cerar says.

He adds that “Slovenia by all means remains strongly committed to the strengthening of the European Union.”


11:55 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the European Union is strong enough to find the “right answers” to Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.

Merkel said Friday that Germany has a “special interest” and a “special responsibility” in European unity succeeding. She said she has invited EU President Donald Tusk, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi to a meeting in Berlin on Monday ahead of a previously scheduled EU summit.

Merkel told reporters in Berlin that Europe shouldn’t draw “quick and simple conclusions” from the referendum that would only create further divisions.

She voiced “great regret” at the British decision to leave the EU and said the bloc must aim for a “close” future relationship with Britain. She emphasized that the country remains an EU member with “all rights and obligations” on both sides until negotiations are complete.


11:40 a.m.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon says a new Scottish referendum on independence is “highly likely” because of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

She said Friday legislation will be prepared for a possible new vote. Independence was defeated two years ago in a Scottish referendum.

Sturgeon said she would do everything possible to keep Scotland inside the EU. She said this means another referendum “has to be on the table.”

Britain’s decision to leave the EU represents a substantial, material change in Scotland’s relations and could justify another independence vote, she said.

The Scottish leader also praised British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said he will resign when a new party leader is chosen before October.


11:35 a.m.

European Union leaders say that Britain will remain a member of the bloc until its exit negotiations are concluded, which probably means at least two years longer.

The leaders of the EU’s institutions said Friday that “until this process of negotiations is over, the United Kingdom remains a member of the European Union, with all the rights and obligations that derive from this.”

They said in a statement that under the bloc’s treaties “EU law continues to apply to the full to and in the United Kingdom until it is no longer a member.”

The statement was signed by European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.


11:30 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande said he profoundly regrets the British vote to leave the European Union, but that the union must make changes in order to move forward. In a brief televised statement, Hollande said the vote will put Europe to the test, and he called for bolstering security and industrial policies.

He also called for reinforcement of the zone of countries that use the euro.

He said, “To move forward, Europe cannot act as before.”


11:25 a.m.

Boris Johnson says the vote to leave the European Union gives Britons a “glorious opportunity” to take control.

He said Friday there is no need for haste in negotiations.

He said the vote means Britain will be able to set its own taxes and control its own borders.

“It was a noble idea for its time; it is no longer right for this country,” Johnson said of the EU.

He praised Prime Minister David Cameron as an “extraordinary politician” and said he is “sad” to see Cameron resign.

The former London mayor did not say Thursday if he plans to contend for the Conservative Party leadership.


11:15 a.m.

European Union leaders are warning Britain to leave the EU quickly and avoid prolonging uncertainty.

The presidents of the EU’s main institutions said in a statement Friday that they expect London to act on the decision to leave “as soon as possible, however painful that process may be.”

The four — EU Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Parliament President Martin Schulz and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte — said that “any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested that formal notification of Britain’s departure might not come before October.


11 a.m.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen says pro-independence movements in the European Parliament will meet soon to plan their next move after the British vote to leave the European Union.

With a broad smile on her face, Le Pen said her National Front was the only political party in France to take the possibility of a British exit seriously, and she reiterated her call for a similar referendum in France, calling it “a democratic necessity.”

“The British people have given to Europeans and to all the people of the world a shining lesson in democracy,” Le Pen said.

Le Pen, who is a member of the European Parliament, is also positioning herself to run for president of France in elections next year.


11 a.m.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico says the EU will have to react quickly to Britain’s decision to leave.

Fico, whose country is taking over the rotating EU presidency in July, says the bloc’s key policies have to change.

In a Friday statement Fico says: “Huge numbers of people in the EU reject the EU’s immigration policy, there’s big disappointment with the economic policy.”

Fico says the EU needs to be bold enough to say that those EU policies need “a fundamental change.”

Fico is a vocal critic of the EU’s approach to the migrant crisis, in particular to the plan to redistribute the refugees in member states.

He says that during the presidency, he is ready to provide room for informal debates on the bloc’s future.


10:55 a.m.

Poland’s foreign minister says that if the model of a political form of the European Union keeps being pushed, the common European project may end in “catastrophe.”

Witold Waszczykowski said Friday that European politicians should think more deeply about whether to continue pushing for a political form of the union.

“If there is a deeper reflection, a pause in the pushing of this French-German model, then the union will survive. But if the eurozone is forced, and the eurozone creates some new institutions, its own budget and treats the whole European Union as a facade, then it may all end in a catastrophe.”

He said other countries may now use referendums to “blackmail the EU to win a change in their status.”


10:50 a.m.

The leader of the ALDE liberals in the European Parliament says it is necessary for Britain to officially declare its intention to leave the European Union and not wait until October when Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will step down.

Guy Verhofstadt said he found it “unacceptable … that he is going to wait until October and let it to his successor.”

Despite the referendum result, Britain can choose the moment when it officially tells its European partners that it will leave, officially kicking off a process that could take two years or longer.

“It would be possible that in the whole of 2016 there is no notification of the British decision, what is against the will of the British citizens,” Verhofstadt said.

He warned that would only extend the market turbulence that started immediately after the results were known.


10:40 a.m.

NATO’s chief says the British vote to leave the European Union shouldn’t affect its status as a reliable and key member of the U.S.-led military alliance.

“As it defines the next chapter in its relationship with the EU, I know that the United Kingdom’s position in NATO will remain unchanged,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday in a statement. “The U.K. will remain a strong and committed NATO ally, and will continue to play its leading role in our alliance.”

British voters’ decision on Thursday to exit the 28-nation European Union sent shockwaves through Europe and around the world.

“Today, as we face more instability and uncertainty, NATO is more important than ever as a platform for cooperation among European allies, and between Europe and North America,” Stoltenberg said. “A strong, united and determined NATO remains an essential pillar of stability in a turbulent world, and a key contributor to international peace and security.”


10:35 a.m.

The European Central Bank says it is “closely monitoring financial markets” in the wake of the British vote to leave the European Union.

The chief monetary authority for the 19 countries that use the euro currency says that it “stands ready” to provide additional credit to financial institutions if they need it to do business.

It also said it was staying in close contact with other central banks.

Otherwise the ECB did not immediately announce any new measures. The bank already provides short-term cheap credit to banks in any amount at regular intervals, and has pumped more cash into the system through a bond purchase program aimed at raising inflation.

The British vote shook up financial markets around the globe on Monday, leading to sharp falls in stocks and the British pound.


10:30 a.m.

Switzerland’s central bank says it has intervened in currency markets after the Swiss franc came “under upward pressure” following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The Swiss National Bank says in a brief statement Friday that it intervened in the foreign exchange market to “stabilize the situation” and will “remain active in that market.”

The British referendum vote to leave the European bloc has caused turmoil in financial markets, driving many stock markets lower and currency exchanges reeling.

Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said in a note that the SNB move was aimed to “keep a lid on the franc after a flight to safety following the Brexit vote.”

He said many central banks “could be forced into taking drastic action to stem outflows.”


10:15 a.m.

Germany’s vice chancellor says the Brexit vote is a “chance for a new beginning” but that Europe must not return to business as usual.

Sigmar Gabriel, also Germany’s Economy Minister, told Bild newspaper Friday “the exit of the United Kingdom is a shrill wakeup call for European politics. Whoever doesn’t listen or takes refuge in the usual rituals drives Europe into a wall.”

Gabriel says “we don’t need ‘more Europe,” but a ‘different Europe.'”

He says the message of the British voters is that politicians need to deal head-on with the problems facing the EU like high unemployment, the migrant crisis and social security issues.

He says the British “didn’t vote against Europe, but against the way it’s been configured up to now.”


10:10 a.m.

Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country has received Britain’s decision to leave the European Union with sadness, adding that “it ought to make all member nations rethink.”

Rajoy said he wished to transmit a message of “serenity and tranquility” to Spaniards and to businesses, markets and institutions, saying that now was not the moment to promote uncertainty despite the upset decision.

Madrid’s benchmark Ibex 35 index followed the slide of other markets and was down more than 10 percent in early morning trading Friday.

Rajoy also said he wanted to send a message of calm to Spanish citizens in Britain and Britons in Spain, stressing that during the estimated period of two years it will take Britain to fully leave the bloc, their rights would remain unchanged.

He reiterated Spain’s commitment to contribute toward greater EU economic and political unity, saying the bloc has provided the greatest period of peace, liberty and prosperity in the region ever.


10:05 a.m.

Germany’s justice minister says that Britain’s exit from the European Union should be implemented quickly.

Heiko Maas said in a statement that “it is a black Friday for Europe.” He added that “we respect the decision by a narrow majority of Britons. The Brexit must now be implemented quickly.” He didn’t give a specific timeframe.

Maas said that “one thing is clear: we will fight for Europe.” He said that Europeans must stick together for their “ideas of peace, freedom and justice.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to meet the leaders of the parties in the German Parliament and then make a statement on the referendum outcome at 12.30 p.m. (1030 GMT).


9:55 a.m.

Boos — and a few cheers — greeted former London Mayor Boris Johnson as he left his London home the morning after a historic vote to leave the European Union.

Johnson is one of the primary candidates to become prime minister after being the most prominent figure in the campaign to have the U.K. leave the single market

Dozens waited outside his north London home in anticipation that Johnson would speak. But he instead got into a cab to drive to Vote Leave headquarters.


9:40 a.m.

Scandinavian euroskeptic parties are rushing to suggest membership votes after British voters decided to leave the European Union.

In Sweden, which joined the European Union in 1995, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats wrote Friday on Twitter that “now we wait for (hashtag) swexit!”

The Swedish Left Party suggested Sweden renegotiate its deal with the bloc but leader Jonas Sjostedt cautioned he first wants “to know what Britain’s new relationship with the EU looks like.”

Kristian Thulesen Dahl, head of the Danish People’s Party, said a referendum would be “a good democratic custom” while Pernille Skipper of the left-wing Unity List, called it “the only consequence of the British results.”

Denmark has opted out of parts of EU treaties for fear of losing sovereignty.

Neither Sweden nor Denmark plans a referendum.


9:30 a.m.

The leaders of some of Britain’s largest banks have issued statements to their customers underscoring that they will work tirelessly on their behalf in the unsettled times ahead following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

HSBC chair Douglas Flint says the country is entering a new era and that settling new trade deals with be complex and time-consuming.

But Flint says that “as one of the largest, most stable, liquid and prudent financial institutions in the world, HSBC is well-placed to support our customers and the markets as they deal with the challenges that will arise.”

The CEO of Barclays, Jes Staley, said many questions will be asked in the coming days about what happens next.

“We have stood in service of our customers and clients for over 325 years. We have been here for them through equally profound changes before,” Staley said.


9:25 a.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to resign after losing the referendum vote will set off an intense Conservative Party leadership battle.

Cameron said Friday a new prime minister should be in place by the party conference in October.

Among the likely contenders are former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who both helped lead the “leave” campaign.

Other Cabinet members are likely to contend as well.


9:05 a.m.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz says the EU assembly will hold an emergency session next week following the U.K.’s decision to leave the bloc.

Schulz told reporters that the parliament would meet on Tuesday morning, ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels where the Brexit vote will top the agenda.

He said the assembly must examine what steps to take next as Britain negotiates its departure, especially in light of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to leave office in October.


9:05 a.m.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is calling for a balanced disentanglement between the EU and Britain and said he did not see much interest in having a Dutch national referendum on EU membership as advocated by populist right-wing politician Geert Wilders.

Rutte said it was “important now, also in the interest of the Netherlands, is that we try to find a solution step-by-step and in a stable manner.” He then headed off to Brussels to speak with top EU officials on the British referendum results.

Rutte dismissed Wilders’ call for a Dutch vote on the EU, saying “I don’t think the Dutch are currently interested in having a referendum on that.”

The prime minister says the Dutch understand that “cooperation with other countries in a common market … is vital for our country.”


9 a.m.

Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney says the institution is prepared to deal with the market volatility that is under way following the Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

Carney says the bank has “engaged in extensive contingency planning” and he is in close contact with Treasury chief George Osborne.

Carney says that capital requirements for Britian’s largest banks are 10 times higher than before the start of the 2008 financial crisis.

He says the Bank of England has stress tested the banks “against scenarios more severe than the country currently faces.” Carney says UK banks have raised over 130 billion pounds of capital.


8:35 a.m.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry says it will host a meeting of the top diplomats from the original six founding nations of the European Union.

In a statement Friday, the ministry said the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg would meet Saturday in Berlin.

The ministry says the meeting is part of a long “tradition of talks between the six European founder nations” and that they will discuss “current European political topics.


8:30 a.m.

Germany’s foreign minister says Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is “truly sobering” news.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Friday that “it looks like a sad day for Europe and for the United Kingdom.”

German officials have repeatedly said that they wanted Britain to remain in the EU.


8:25 a.m.

Prime Minister David Cameron says he will resign by the fall and insists the British people’s will must be respected after voters chose to leave the 28-nation European Union.

Cameron says there can be no doubt about the result of Thursday’s historic vote but that he is not the “captain” that will steer the ship through difficult negotiations with the EU.

He says he will resign by the time of the Conservative party conference in the fall.

British stocks are plunging as the market opens as investors scramble to react to the news. The pound has hit a 31-year low.

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