31st May 2023

UK counts votes, amid signs of Remain lead

  • Counting started in Glasgow and accross the UK and will last all night. (Photo: Reuters)

Counting has begun in the UK referendum on EU membership, amid signs that the Remain camp is in the lead.

Voting stations closed at 10PM local time, with Sunderland, a city in north-east England, to deliver the first main results at 12.30AM.

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A YouGov poll published on Thursday (23 June) evening put the Remain side on 52 percent overall and the Leave camp on 48 percent.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-EU Ukip party, told the Sky News broadcaster shortly afterward that it “looks like ‘Remain’ will edge it”. Other anti-EU campaigners disagreed. “It’s much too early. We have no idea what the result’s going to be”, former justice minister Chris Grayling said.

The news prompted the British pound to surge in value to a six-month high against the US dollar, indicating market confidence in a Remain victory.

One expert said trading on the outcome would not start in earnest until Sunderland's official figures came in.

But Peter Cardillo, at First Standard Financial, a brokerage in New York, told the BBC: “The markets are the best judge of what is going to happen, and they are saying that Britain will remain. The key is the strong jump in the pound."

In a surprise move, 84 eurosceptic MPs shortly after 10PM also published a letter in British daily The Telegraph urging British PM David Cameron to stay in office no matter what the outcome would be.

Former London mayor Boris Johnson and justice minister Michael Gove, two prominent Leave campaigners, were among the signatories.

In Cardiff, Andrew RT Davies, the eurosceptic leader of the Welsh Tories, told British daily The Guardian: “The prime minister is the prime minister. He’s got a five-year mandate. I think the party deserves great credit for delivering the referendum”.

The final result is expected to be known by 3.30AM. But the last counts are to arrive at 6AM.

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