Britain votes to leave the European Union
Britain has voted to leave the European Union.
In a major political earthquake, the Brexit campaign is on course to secure 52% of the vote after a night of extraordinary drama.
Although they have not officially reached the 16.8 million votes needed to guarantee victory, ITV, Sky News and the BBC have all called the result for Leave.
It marks an incredible turnaround from when the polls closed at 10pm last night, when two new polls suggested that Remain were on course for victory - and even Ukip leader Nigel Farage said that the pro-EU camp had "edged it".
But as results began to come in it became clear that Leave had won the support of large numbers of traditional Labour voters in the party's northern heartlands.
Even though Scotland and inner city London overwhelmingly backed Remain, major cities like Sunderland, Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield all voted to quit the EU.
Based on a confirmed electorate of 46,500,001 turnout at the referendum was 72.2%
By 5am, Leave had received nearly 14.6 million votes, 1 million ahead of their pro-EU rivals and just 2 million votes short of victory.
Mr Farage all-but declared victory in a speech to his jubilant supporters shortly before 4am,
He said: "The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom. If the predictions now are right, this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people. We have fought against the multi-nationals, we fought against big politics; we fought against lies, corruption and deceit.
“We will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired, we have done it by damn hard work on the ground.
“I hope this victory brings down this failed project. Let’s get rid of the flag, the anthem, Brussels and all that has gone wrong. Let 23 June go down in history as our independence day.”
Sterling plummeted to its lowest point since the 1980s as the financial markets responded negatively to Leave's impending victory.
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the leaders of the Vote Leave campaign, were keeping a low profile as speculation mounted that David Cameron may quit later today.
A letter signed by 84 Brexit-backing Tory MPs was delivered to Downing Street just after 10pm calling on the Prime Minister to stay in post regardless of the referendum result.
But a senior Labour source told PoliticsHome: "If we vote to leave, Cameron should seriously consider his position."
Tory MP and leading Brexiteer Liam Fox insisted, however, the Prime Minister should stay in post.
He said: "I think he should stay because there is clearly going to be some short-term turbulence. As the PM who gave us the referendum, he is best placed to see us through.”