The people of Britain voted for a British exit, or Brexit, from the EU in a historic referendum on Thursday June 23.
The outcome has prompted jubilant celebrations among Eurosceptics around the UK and sent shockwaves through the global economy.
After the result yesterday morning, the pound fell to its lowest level since 1985 and David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister of this country.
Mr Cameron said his successor should take up office by October, at which point the UK would embark on its two-year political divorce from the EU.
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.”
The next step is for Britain to tell the EU that it wants to go by using Article 50 of the EU rulebook for the first time in history.
But there is now a short moment for reflection before Mr Cameron’s successor triggers this legal mechanism, which gives the UK two years to leave the EU.
Eurosceptic MP Boris Johnson – the favourite to replace the Prime Minister – has hailed Brexit as a “glorious opportunity” for Britain to find its voice in the world again.
The Brexit vote has sparked calls for a second Scottish independence referendum and the resignation of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn due to his lukewarm campaign.
Spain’s Government has also called for joint control of Gibraltar and Sinn Fein is demanding a vote to unite Ireland and Northern Ireland.
What does Brexit mean for the economy?
The Brexit victory sent economic shockwaves through global markets and UK stocks yesterday had their worst drop since the finanical crisis.
The pound on Friday fell to its lowest level since 1985 and emergency steps are now being taken to calm the economic turmoil.
There is uncertainty over what will happen when Britain leaves the EU because it has to make new trade agreements with the rest of the world.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said: “Some market and economic volatility can be expected as this process unfolds. But we are well prepared for this.”
Supporters of Brexit argue that EU countries have every incentive keep trading with the UK, which is a large importer of goods and services.
But Europhiles worry that foreign companies will be less likely to invest here and could relocate their headquarters if Britain loses access to the EU’s single market.
Ahead of the referendum, investor Neil Woodford, founder of Woodford Investment Management, described pro-European claims that the economy would be damaged as “bogus”.
Mr Woodford said: “I think it’s a nil-sum game frankly, whether we stay or whether we leave.”
Ukip leader Nigel Farage has also said the Brexit vote is good news for exporters who have struggled with the high value of the pound.
Now Britain has voted to leave the EU, it will no longer have to contribute billions of pounds a year towards the European Union’s budget.
During the campaign Eurosceptics slammed a Confederation of British Industry report that claimed that Brexit would cause a £100billion “shock” to the UK economy.
The Treasury was also accused of “doom and gloom” after predicting that a Brexit would cost households £4,300 a year by 3030, leaving Britain worse off for decades.
Anti-EU campaigners have rubbished claims that a EU exit will push up the cost of the weekly shop, everyday items and travel abroad.
But there are still concerns about what will happen to Britain’s expats living in European countries such as Spain and European footballers playing in the UK.
What will happen to immigration when Britain leaves the EU?
Eurosceptics say Brexit will allow Britain to take back control of its borders in order to curb immigration and increase security.
Britain will no longer have to accept ‘free movement of people’ from Europe, which Brexiteers say puts pressure on public services such as the NHS and schools.
Brexit campaigners have said Britain will be free to impose an ‘Australian-style points system’ to better manage immigration and fill skill shortages here.
But the Remain campaign believe that Brexit will hit the British economy which relies on the free movement of EU migrant workers such as health professionals.
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Some Europhiles have also said that Brexit would compromise the UK’s ability to fight cross-border crime and terrorism.
Mr Cameron even said he suspects that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “would be happy” when Britain leaves the EU.
What will happen to Britain’s place in the world?
The Brexit campaign believe that Britons have taken a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore Britain’s sovereignty.
Eurosceptics see EU institutions as inherently undemocratic and argue that laws that affect the UK should not be decided by bureaucrats in Brussels.
Mr Johnson argues that the EU has greatly eroded the public’s ability to elect politicians to pass laws that matter to them.
In his victory speech yesterday, the former London mayor said that the British people will now be able to “settle their own destiny” outside the EU.
He said: “It’s about the very principles of our democracy. The rights of all of us to elect and remove the people who make the key decisions in their lives.”
But Europhiles argue that the UK will now wield less power on the international stage because it will not be in the room when key decisions are made.
There are also fears that British workers, expats and travellers will lose rights currently enshrined under EU law.
EU chiefs have been forced into damage control to defend the integrity of the European bloc amid fears that Brexit could tear Europe apart.
Eurosceptic populist parties across the Continent have delightedly seized on Brexit to further their own campaigns for independence.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said they were not “shocked” by the referendum result and are ”well-prepared” to deal with Brexit aftershocks.
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