You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Should They Stay or Should They Go: Polls Close in Britain on Vote on E.U.

LONDON – Polls have closed in Britain in a national referendum that will decide whether the country remains a member of the European Union or withdraws.

Counting will continue through Thursday night and into the early hours of Friday in a race that has been too close to call. Opinion polls in the final weeks seesawed between the two sides.

Shortly after polling stations closed at 10 p.m. British time, Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party, which supports a British withdrawal from the E.U., appeared to issue a concession statement, saying that he believed the “Remain” side had eked out a win. But pollsters cautioned that it was too early to make any confident prediction.

Farage’s party and other pro-“Leave” forces had mounted a fierce campaign against the E.U., contending that Britain was being swamped by European migrants and had lost control over its borders. Critics accused Farage and others of rhetoric bordering on racist and xenophobic.

“Remain” campaigners warned that a British exit from the E.U. would result in an economic meltdown and diminish Britain’s influence in Europe and beyond. The “Remain” camp received the support of British Prime Minister David Cameron and leader of the opposition Labor Party Jeremy Corbyn, President Obama, European leaders, top military officials, major business figures and most economists.

Anticipating a narrow vote to stay in, financial markets reacted favorably Thursday, with the British pound jumping to its highest level against the dollar this year.

More than 46 million people were eligible to vote in Thursday’s referendum, and preliminary estimates put turnout at about 70%, despite havoc wreaked in some parts of Britain by torrential rains. Some polling stations had to be moved from place to place because of flooding.

The last time British voters were given the chance to determine whether their country stayed in the E.U. was in 1975. In that election, two-thirds of those who voted embraced membership.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content