Britain has been hit by a political earthquake after the historic EU referendum delivered clear backing for Brexit - and effectively ended David Cameron's career, reports Daily Mail.
The Leave campaign triumphed after stacking up votes across England and Wales - despite massive support for Remain in Scotland and major cities including London.
The Prime Minister is expected to give his response to the dramatic verdict shortly, with speculation that he will herald the end of his tenure in Downing Street. Ukip leader Nigel Farage has hailed a 'victory for real people' and declared June 23 the country's 'Independence Day'.
The Pound nose-dived to its lowest level against the US dollar for 31 years as traders took fright at the news, and the stock market is likely to be suspended to avoid a crash. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has already raised the prospect of a second independence referendum in Scotland.
The dramatic developments overnight include:
- Sunderland voted by a massive 61 per cent to 39 per cent for Brexit - far higher than expected. In Swansea, where Remain had been forecast to win by 10 percentage points, Leave ended up by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
- Among a slew of poor results, Remain also only won by 51 per cent to 49 per cent in Newcastle, less than many had anticipated.
- Experts now say there is no chance of Remain emerging victorious overall, with the final outcome expected to be 52-48.
- The news sent the Pound plunging against the US dollar, losing around 20 cents to hit its lowest level since 1985.
- The Brexit victory came despite Mr Farage admitted seconds after polls closed that Remain looked to have 'edged' the referendum. Boris Johnson reportedly told a passenger on the Tube that his side had lost the referendum battle.
- Final polls had also predicted a Remain victory by up to 54-46.
- More than 80 Tory Brexit backers have written to David Cameron urging him to stay on in Downing Street whatever the outcome.
The direction of the battle started to become clear with a shock result in Sunderland which saw the Out camp win by 61 per cent to 39 per cent. Analysis before the referendum had suggested Leave could be on track to win if they were more than six percentage points ahead.
A surprise victory for Brexit in Swansea, where the pro-EU side had been expecting to romp home, signposted a disastrous showing for Remain across Wales. Areas like Carmarthenshire decisively turned their back on Brussels.
Newcastle was less clear cut for the pro-EU side than they had hoped, seeing them sneak home by just 51 per cent to 49 per cent.
Remain had some bright spots, with chunky wins in London, Scotland and Oxford. Wandsworth in particular piled in with a massive 77 per cent in favour of staying.
However, the English cities and Scotland were not enough to offset the will of the rest of the country, and Leave passed the finishing post at 6am.
Speaking at a jubilant Leave.EU rally in central London, Mr Farage said June 23 would go down in history as 'our independence day'.
In a remark that could prove controversial after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot dead last week, Mr Farage said the country was separating from the EU 'without a single bullet being fired' .
Former Europe minister and Labour MP Keith Vaz told the BBC the outcome would be a 'catastrophe'. 'Frankly, in a thousand years I would never have believed that the British people would have voted this way,' he said. And they have done so and I think that they voted emotionally rather than looking at the facts. It'll be catastrophic for our country, for the rest of Europe and indeed the world.'