Statements on Britain's Vote to Leave EU

June 24, 2016

Prime Minister David Cameron is to step down by October after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Mr Cameron made the announcement in a statement outside Downing Street after the final result was announced. The PM had urged the country to vote Remain, warning of economic and security consequences of an exit, but the UK voted to Leave by 52% to 48%.

Flanked by his wife Samantha, Mr Cameron announced shortly after 08:15 BST that he had informed the Queen of his decision to remain in place for the short term and to then hand over to a new prime minister by the time of the Conservative conference in October.

"I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination. This is not a decision I've taken lightly but I do believe it's in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required."

It would be for the new prime minister to carry out negotiations with the EU and invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal, he said.

"The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected," said Mr Cameron. "The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered."


A majority of voters in all 32 council areas in Scotland voted Remain.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "absolutely determined" to keep Scotland in the EU so a second Scottish independence referendum was now "highly likely".

Sturgeon said it was "democratically unacceptable" that Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will.

She said the Scottish government would begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote.

Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%.


Statement from the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe (COBCOE) 

“It is now imperative that businesses in the United Kingdom and across Europe are provided with clarity, support and representation given the potential changes to commerce in the future and the uncertainty we now face.

"We cannot ignore our trading community. They must be heard in any forthcoming negotiations if we are to see prosperous economies, if we are to see Britain and Europe compete in a changing, globalised commercial world.

"COBCOE has already presented the needs of businesses in its Evolving Europe report. We will continue to make sure these needs are met and will offer traders proper guidance and support as an informed, impartial and expert organisation that addresses business, not politics."

Follow the news on the EU referendum results on the BBC HERE


Statement from Dr Adam Marshall, Acting Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

"In the wake of the electorate's historic decision to leave the European Union, the immediate priorities for UK business are market stability and political clarity.

"Some businesspeople will be pleased with the result, and others resigned to it. Yet all companies will expect swift, decisive, and coordinated action from the government and the Bank of England to stabilise markets if trading conditions or the availability of capital change dramatically.

"Firms across the UK want an immediate and unambiguous statement from the Prime Minister on next steps, along with a clear timeline for the UK's exit from the European Union.

"Business will also want to see a detailed plan to support the economy during the coming transition period - as confidence, investment, hiring and growth would all be deeply affected by a prolonged period of uncertainty. If ever there were a time to ditch the straight-jacket of fiscal rules for investment in a better business infrastructure, this is it.

"Businesses need action to maintain economic stability, a timeline for exit, and answers to their many practical, real-world questions about doing business during and after this historic transition.

"Firms want help to get Britain back to business at a time of great uncertainty. The health of the economy must be the number one priority – not the Westminster political post-mortem.”


Statement from BCCJ President 

BCCJ President Bickle commenting in the immediate aftermath of the referendum result:

"Britain will now need to rapidly accept the referendum result and move forward with unity and common purpose. For those who have an active interest in business between Japan and the UK, this will mean working closely with our business partners, and doing all we can to demonstrate that the UK continues to be a rewarding and richly deserving European destination for Japanese investment."

"The appetite of Japanese consumers for innovative and high-quality British goods and services will not evaporate. So, whether British exporters are governed by an EU–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement or a bilateral UK–Japan deal, Japan will continue to be an important market for UK businesses."


Statement from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) 

Following the result of the United Kingdom's referendum on membership of the European Union, Mike Thompson, CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has said:

"The voice of the British people has been heard. This creates immediate challenges for future investment, research and jobs in our industry in the UK. With that being the case, we are committed to working closely with the government to agree what steps need to be taken to send a strong signal that the UK is open for business."


Related news from the BCCJ

The EU Referendum: views from the C-suite

BCCJ EU Referendum Poll Results

Great European Disaster?