As I began writing this posting at 6.00 am, the last necessary vote — the 17,410,000th — to give a majority wanting to leave the EU has just been counted. The next public step will be David Cameron’s acceptance of the fact outside 10 Downing Street within two or three hours.
Whether he will then decide to continue as Prime Minister — which many Tory MPs have already called for — is hardly likely, considering that he’s been fighting tooth and nail to keep the country locked into the EU.
Less publicly, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be invoked and the government’s bureaucrats must now start negotiations with the Brussels bureaucrats in order to disentangle this country from EU regulations. These are expected to take two years but some changes — such as immigration control under a qualification system — can start almost immediately.
But there will be many other changes that will take years to come to fruition, the most important of which will be increased freedom for British export firms to trade with countries outside the EU.
The Referendum ‘debate’ has been a nasty, and sometimes vicious, affair. It is a great relief for it to be over and done with.