British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will resign within the next four months, after U.K. voters expressed a narrow preference for leaving the European Union in Thursday’s referendum.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street a few hours after the results were announced, Cameron said he had informed the Queen and would remain on hand to “steady the ship.” The Brexit triumph has sent the pound to a 30-year low against the dollar, and put the political future of the United Kingdom in question.
“The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected,” he said. “The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.”
It marks a shocking end to his tenure. Elected in 2010, Cameron had already steered the U.K. through one existential crisis, in 2014, in the form of a Scottish independence vote. But in an attempt to hold his party together through last year’s general election, Cameron pledged to put EU membership to a vote. He campaigned ardently for the country to remain, but Brexit will be his legacy.
Scores of politicians in Cameron’s Conservative Party, including several prominent Brexiteers, published a letter Thursday asking Cameron to stay on, regardless of the results. He declined, saying the country needed “fresh leadership.”