Prime Minister David Cameron today announced his resignation following the UK's vote to leave the EU, saying a new Prime Minister should be in place by October as it would not be right for him to try to be "the captain that steers the country" to its next destination.
Cameron, whose voice choked with emotion as he addressed media outside 10 Downing Street soon after the results in favour of Brexit had been confirmed, said that while nothing would change instantly, it will be a new Prime Minister who would "deliver the instruction" of the British public.
"We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union...The country requires fresh leadership to take this forward. While it is important that I stay on to steady the ship, I do not think it would be right for me to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination," said Cameron, who led a spirited campaign for the Remain side.
"I will do all that I can to help," the 49-year-old Conservative leader said, adding that the "will of the people must be respected".
Describing the referendum as a "giant democratic exercise," Cameron said, "Across the world people have been watching the choice that Britain has made. I would reassure those markets and investors that Britain's economy is fundamentally strong and I would also reassure Britons living in European countries and European citizens living here, that there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances."
Nearly 30.6 million had turned out in Thursday's referendum to deliver the verdict of 51.9 per cent in favour of Brexit and 48.1 per cent for Remain.
"There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold," Cameron said.
The Cabinet will meet on Monday when a timetable for him stepping down will be firmed up, a decision he said he had communicated to Queen Elizabeth II.
Cameron, who has been Prime Minister of the UK for six years, winning a majority second term for his Conservative party in the 2015 general election, said the country now requires, "strong, determined and committed leadership" to negotiate the UK's future with Europe and the rest of the world.
With wife Samantha by his side, Cameron concluded his statement on an emotional note, saying "I love this country and I feel honoured to have served it and I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed."
Bank of England governor Mark Carney moved soon after to also issue a strong statement to try and calm the turmoil unleashed on the world markets.
"We are well prepared for this. The Treasury and the Bank of England have engaged in extensive contingency planning and the Chancellor and I have been in close contact, including through the night and this morning. The Bank will not hesitate to take additional measures as required as those markets adjust and the UK economy moves forward," he said.