The vote to leave the European Union

The following article was originally published in the North Wales Weekly News newspaper on 29 June 2016.

May I start by apologising if this article does not entirely consist of the flawless prose that you are entitled to expect. The fact is that I am writing it to a deadline on Friday, 24 June and have been awake for over 30 hours.

Early this morning, the people of the United Kingdom decided in a referendum to leave the European Union. The decision was the culmination of a lengthy campaign with which, by polling day, I have no doubt everyone was thoroughly weary, but also well informed.

Within a matter of two hours of the confirmation of the decision, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that he would be standing down so as to allow a successor to be chosen who would take forward the negotiations with the European Union that would lead to the UK’s departure.

“Historic” is a frequently abused adjective, but there can be no doubt that the events of 23 – 24 June 2016 will go down  as one of the great turning points of British history.

As I write, the currency markets are in a state of some turmoil. This is only to be expected. All markets dislike uncertainty; but gradually things will become more certain and the markets will settle.

Whilst I am delighted that the people of this country have shown the necessary self-confidence to take this decision, I acknowledge that there are serious challenges ahead. The process of negotiation will no doubt be lengthy and convoluted.  It will be important to secure arrangements that preserve trading and other necessary relationships between Britain and her continental neighbours.

There will also be wounds that will need to be healed.  The majority was a small, albeit a clear, one; but the fact is that some 48% of the electorate decided that they wanted to remain within the EU.

All of us will now have to work together to repair relationships that have become frayed as a result of the referendum campaign. It is essential that we put our recent differences behind us and move forward together for the national good.

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