David Cameron to resign as Prime Minister after vote for Brexit

Posted On: 
24th June 2016

David Cameron has announced he is resigning as Prime Minister after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

David Cameron announced his resignation outside Downing Street
Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Mr Cameron said he could not continue as Prime Minister after voters rejected his call for the UK to stay in the European Union by 51.9% to 48.1%.

He will remain in place while the Conservatives choose a new leader in time for the Tory conference at the start of October.

Businesses will need to ‘hit the button’ on short-term contingency plans says EY’s UK Chairman

The new leader will lead the UK’s exit from the EU and decide when Article 50, which begins a two-year withdrawal process from the EU, is triggered.

In an emotional statement outside 10 Downing Street alongside his wife Samantha, Mr Cameron said: “The British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction,” he said.  

“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 leadership required. There is no need for a precise timetable today, but in my view we should aim to have a new prime minister in place by the start of the Conservative party conference in October.”

Mr Cameron’s voice cracked with emotion as he looked back on some of his achievements as Prime Minister, including reducing the deficit, reforms to education and welfare, and introducing same-sex marriage.

“Although leaving Europe was not the path I recommended I am the first to praise our incredible strengths," he said.

“I’ve said before that Britain can survive outside the EU and indeed that we could find a way, now the decision has been made to leave we need to find the best way. I will do everything I can to help – 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.”

Mr Cameron became Conservative leader in 2005 and has been Prime Minister since 2010, first in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and then with a Tory majority Government.

Pro-Brexit Conservatives had rallied behind Mr Cameron, with more than 80 of them signing a letter last night urging him to stay in place.

Chris Grayling, one of the Conservative ministers campaigning against the Prime Minister, said he was “disappointed” by the news.

He said: “I very much regret he has taken the decision he has because I think he could have played a really important role in what comes next. But we will now have to move on.”

Leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson has been the favourite to take over from Mr Cameron, while Theresa May and Michael Gove are also considered contenders.