PM David Cameron resigns and Nigel Farage declares ‘Independence Day’ as Leave wins with 51.9% of the vote
Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing prime minister David Cameron to resign and sending shockwaves across the political and economic landscape and turmoil across the financial markets.
Leave won with 51.9% of the vote, to Remain’s 48.1%. Cameron said he would stand down by the time of the Conservative party conference in October, and it would be a new prime minister that would invoke Article 50 triggering negotiations for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, which could take two years. UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed the result as “Independence Day”.
The construction sector is braced for a likely negative impact - industry leaders prior to the vote predicted that a vote for Brexit would impact on investment, business confidence and a labour market heavily reliant on migrants from mainland Europe.
The vote has had an instant impact on markets - the value of the pound has fallen dramatically, at one stage hitting $1.33, a fall of more than 10% and a low not seen since 1985.
The London stock exchange has opened 8% lower and FTSE-listed housebuilders and contractors are likely to be hit hard in trading today.
Building, alongside a host of industry-leading firms, had backed remaining in the EU, as had the industry-at-large - a survey by Building in the weeks leading up to the referendum revealed two-thirds of professionals thought Brexit would have a negative impact on the sector, with a similar proportion saying they intended to vote Remain.