REACTION: Prime Minister David Cameron resigns as the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union

David Cameron.
David Cameron.
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Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

Political, community and civic leaders give their reaction.

Jill Thomas, president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and managing director of Future Life Wealth Management, said: "In the wake of the electorate's historic decision to leave the European Union, the immediate priorities for UK business are market stability and political clarity.

"Some business people will be pleased with the result, and others resigned to it. Yet all companies will expect swift, decisive, and coordinated action from the government and the Bank of England to stabilise markets if trading conditions or the availability of capital change dramatically.

"Firms across the UK want an immediate and unambiguous statement from the Prime Minister on next steps, along with a clear timeline for the UK's exit from the European Union.

"Business will also want to see a detailed plan to support the economy during the coming transition period - as confidence, investment, hiring and growth would all be deeply affected by a prolonged period of uncertainty. If ever there were a time to ditch the straight-jacket of fiscal rules for investment in a better business infrastructure, this is it.

"Businesses need action to maintain economic stability, a timeline for exit, and answers to their many practical, real-world questions about doing business during and after this historic transition.”

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: "Britain needs businesses nationally and locally to get up to full speed quickly despite this time of great uncertainty. The health of the economy must be the number one priority – not a political post-mortem that distracts everybody from the job in hand.

“The country has operated with a massive trade deficit for far too long and we are building enormous debts. It is recoverable but we have to operate in a different way and this needs significant changes to business support mechanisms amongst other things.

“Now is the time to ditch the old box ticking, process driven systems that eat money in layers of bureaucracy. International Trade and start up support needs to be commercially focused using people who have been there and done it, and aligned to the regional economic strategy.

“Exiting Europe and the Devolution program give us the opportunity to change this but do the Combined Authority have the vision to do things differently to the way they always have?”

Richard Potts, partner at Irwin Mitchell Asset Management, said: "The vote for the UK to leave the EU has triggered a big fall in the FTSE 100 as investors react to the result. However, this decline will probably present good buying opportunities for investors.

"The fall in the value of sterling will benefit those companies with large overseas earnings. As many of these companies are large and overseas earnings represent a significant proportion of companies in the FTSE, this boost to earnings could attract buyers. Coupled with this is that the economic implications of Leave will take many years to unfold could see a quick recovery from any initial sell off.

"Bond markets are likely to rally further as investors seek safe haven assets during a period of uncertainty. It is possible that longer dated bonds will not prosper in the longer term as weaker sterling translates into higher inflation and foreign investors who typically buy longer bonds desert all UK markets.

“We have a taken a defensive stance in our portfolios. Overseas earners are a significant proportion of our holdings with domestic focused stocks relatively under-weighted. High yielding stocks, where we have a large allocation will see falls in capital value that are likely to be temporary but their dividend paying capability will remain relative unaffected."

Sheffield Green Party councillor Rob Murphy said: "The people have spoken and it’s up to us to listen to them."

Fellow city Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson added: "The vote was even closer in Sheffield than the rest of the country and it looks like we’re going to have a long period of uncertainty ahead of us."

Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and Humber Amjad Bashir said: "Today we have woken up in a genuinely free country for the first time in a generation.

“We have shaken free from a club that was no longer working for us and reclaimed our own destiny. Outside the EU our great nation will be prosperous and secure, we will enjoy our increased sovereignty and democracy will be closer to the people.

“A result is a result, however narrow, and it must be respected fully. We must do as the British people wish and take back control of our borders, our money and our destiny.

“This has been a bitter and bruising campaign and I call on both sides now to come together to do their best in unison to build Britain’s exciting new future.

"That is true of the nation and of the Conservative Party. There should be no arguing the toss, no more backbiting, no sulking. Only optimism and collaboration as we forge our future as a modern, outward-looking and successful nation of the world.

“Churchill famously spoke of Britain’s spheres of influence. Today the whole world is our sphere of influence and that is where our attention must now turn.

“We must reunite and look forwards instead of back. We must throw our efforts into negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and as an MEP I shall be doing all I can to make sure we achieve a smooth departure on the terms we deserve."

Gareth Stace, Director of UK Steel, said: “The decision to leave the European Union will send shockwaves across the UK’s steel industry. Our sector is well versed in having challenges thrust upon it, but it’s clear that this is like no other.

“It is now more essential than ever to create the right business conditions in the UK that allow the steel industry to survive, invest and thrive. This will ensure that our vital supply chains, such as defence, automotive and construction, can rely on the production of steel in the UK so we are self-sufficient and can never be left at the mercy of others. Government now needs to fully and finally tackle head on the uncompetitive electricity and policy costs that have historically hindered the growth of steel producers and seen thousands of high-skilled jobs lost over the last year. We need to see all major projects, from HS2 to Hinckley Point to airport expansion, all using British Steel instead of procuring from foreign companies that offer no social value to the UK and its communities and economy.

“Government can now match words with actions and take the lead in dealing with subsidised exports, most notably form China, that are slowly destroying steel making in the UK. It must come up with clear and concrete actions to ensure t

Yorkshire First Leader Richard Carter said: “Yorkshire First is calling on all those who believe in progressive democracy to consider carefully the outcomes of the referendum and to ask themselves just how do we move forward following this result. It is evident that the people of Yorkshire want more control of their own affairs. The starting point should be greater democracy in Yorkshire; just how do we achieve it?

"Yorkshire First will continue to make the positive case for our region, nationally and internationally. We will be campaigning for people in Yorkshire to have a greater say in those things that desperately need attention such as education, transport and the economy. These are the things that concern the people of Yorkshire, not the careers of London based politicians.

"It has always been the case that whether in or out of Europe there is a pressing need for the voice of the people of Yorkshire to be heard at all levels. Based on this result there is evidence that real devolution of powers away from metropolitan elites is what the people of Yorkshire want. The case for a Yorkshire parliament is strengthened by yesterday's vote in our opinion."

Dan Fell, chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, said: "Throughout the referendum campaign the Chamber remained neutral, acknowledging that like the public, opinion on this issue was deeply divided amongst the business community. Today’s result will therefore delight some Doncaster business people whilst leaving others dumbfounded.

“However, the British public have spoken and the business community will now unite to call on Government, the Treasury and Bank of England to stabilise markets and to foster a climate of stability and confidence. Businesses will also be reminding government to take very seriously the act of extricating Britain from the EU on the best possible terms, whilst also ensuring that full attention is given to key domestic issues such as: skills, infrastructure investment and devolution.

“Locally, the Chamber – working with local partners – will seek clarity from Government on what this means for Northern economies like Doncaster. Doncaster has benefited significantly from European funding in recent years – including investment in our borough’s infrastructure. We now need certainty that the borough, under new governance and funding arrangements, will not only do as well as it has in recent years – in relation to economic development funding – but that it will fair better. The fact that there was such a split between London and the North when it came to voting patterns, should highlight the need for government to take this issue very seriously and move beyond catch phrases such as the “Northern Powerhouse” to work with the private sector to deliver on wealth and jobs for all parts of the UK.

“That said, for the majority of Doncaster businesses, today will be very much business as usual. Today’s news will bring short term uncertainty; however, the Chamber remains confident that the recent economic growth we have enjoyed in Doncaster will continue apace.”

Read more:
Reaction as Prime Minister resigns.
David Cameron's resignation.
Sheffield votes.