You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

British Prime Minister David Cameron Resigns

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation Friday morning after British voters defied his advice and decided to pull their country out of the European Union.

Cameron said he would remain in his post for a few more months to “steady the ship” until a successor can take over and lead Britain’s negotiations with the E.U. on the specifics of its exit from the 28-nation trading bloc. He said he expected a new prime minister to be in place by October.

“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,” Cameron said in a somber statement delivered outside of 10 Downing St. “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 new leadership required.”

It was a spectacular political downfall for Cameron, 49, who had expected to serve out his second term as prime minister, until 2020, which would complete a decade in power. But after the results of Thursday’s “in or out” referendum became clear – 52% of voters opted to leave the E.U. – Cameron’s authority was irretrievably diminished. Commentators said the question was not whether he would step down from office but when.

In many ways, it was a self-inflicted injury: Cameron himself called the referendum in order to appease the “Euroskeptics” in his Conservative Party who wanted out of the E.U. He was confident of convincing the electorate to vote to remain, and the polls in the beginning supported his view.

But the “Leave” camp kept up a relentless barrage of criticism of the influx of European migrants into Britain, which Cameron was powerless to stop under E.U. rules. Critics also accused Cameron of fear-mongering with his warnings of economic Armageddon if Britain withdrew.

But even as he announced his resignation Friday morning, the London stock exchange was suffering heavy losses, and the British pound was flirting with a 30-year low against the dollar. Mark Carney, chairman of the Bank of England, made a statement shortly afterward pledging to take strong measures to protect the pound.

Cameron and Carney both sought to reassure Brits and investors alike that nothing had changed overnight in practical terms. Unwinding British membership in the E.U. is a process that will probably take at least two years, and until the terms are agreed upon, Britain is still considered a member of the bloc.

That means that the free movement of people and goods within the E.U., including Britain, remains in place. Europeans are still able to come to Britain to live and work without restrictions, and Britons residing visa-free in other E.U. countries can continue their lives as usual.

Cameron said he would leave it to his successor to formally invoke “Article 50,” the E.U. provision that triggers a member state’s process of withdrawing. That would then initiate the negotiations over the exit terms.

Top E.U. officials called on Britain to begin exit negotiations as quickly as possible, saying any delay would “unnecessarily prolong uncertainty.”

One possible successor to Cameron is former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who campaigned for Britain to leave the E.U. He insisted Friday that his country was not turning its back on Europe — just the “supra-national” European Union.

“Britain will continue to be a great European power, leading discussions on foreign policy, on defense and intelligence-sharing, and all the work that currently goes on to make our world safer,” Johnson said. “But there is simply no need in the 21st century to be part of a federal system of government based in Brussels that is imitated nowhere else on Earth.”

More Biz

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content