PRIME Minister David Cameron will be resigning as the nation’s leader after his bid to keep the UK in Europe failed.
The Tory chief made the announcement in front of the world’s press outside Number 10 Downing Street minutes after the markets opened with carnage in the City of London.
Flanked by his tearful wife Samantha, Mr Cameron said he had informed the Queen of his decision to remain in place for the short term, but hand over to a new Prime Minister by the time of the Conservative annual conference in October.
He told the nation: ‘The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected.
‘The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.’
His voice breaking, Mr Cameron added: ‘I love this country and I feel honoured to have served it and I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed.’
Despite his campaigning, the PM explained the British people had made ‘a very clear decision to take a different path’ to leave the EU.
He added that he believed the nation had to ‘confront big discussions, not duck them’.
But the prime minister continued, saying: ‘I fought this campaign in the only way I know how which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel – head, heart and soul.
‘I held nothing back. I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union.
‘And I made clear the referendum was about this and this alone – not the future of any single politician including myself.
‘But 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.
‘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 and be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.
‘This is not a decision I have taken lightly but I do believe it is in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.’
The news comes after 17.4m people backed a campaign for Britain to leave the EU, compared to 16.1m calling for the UK to remain united with its continental neighbours.
Since the revelation more than £100bn has been wiped off the FTSE 100 as the index fell more than seven per cent, while the pound also crashed eight per cent against the US dollar.