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Britain votes for Brexit

Britain has voted to leave the EU in a referendum which will send shockwaves across Europe, leave David Cameron's premiership hanging in the balance and trigger financial market turmoil across the globe.

At just before 5.00am the BBC, ITV and Sky News called the result of the referendum with less than 70 of the results left to declare.

The Leave camp has 51.7% of the votes compared to 48.3% for Remain.

Mr Cameron is expected to give his response to the dramatic verdict within hours, with speculation that he will herald the end of his tenure in Downing Street. Meanwhile, UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed the result as a "victory for real people" and declared June 23 the country's "Independence Day".

The direction of the battle started to become clear with a shock result in Sunderland which saw the Out camp win by 61% to 39%. Analysis before the referendum had suggested Leave could be on track to win if they were more than six percentage points ahead.

A surprise victory for Brexit in Swansea, where the pro-EU side had been expecting to win, signposted a disastrous showing for Remain across Wales. Areas like Carmarthenshire decisively turned their back on Brussels.

Remain had some bright spots, with chunky wins in London, Scotland and Oxford. However, large areas of England voted to leave the European Union.

The result has seen volatile trading in Sterling as the currency reached $1.35 at 4.30am, down from $1.50 before the polls closed — the lowest level since 1985.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 fell over 6% with currencies across Asia suffering on fears investors could pull funds out of emerging markets.
HSBC and Standard Chartered, both listed in Hong Kong, fell 8% and 9% respectively on the prospect of a destabilizing exit. Commodities fell over global growth fears but safe haven gold rose 3%.

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