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MPs react to UK Brexit decision

CALL FOR UNITY: Diane Abbott

LABOUR MP Diane Abbott has said that politicians face an uphill task in uniting the country following last night’s UK referendum vote to leave the European Union.

The Leave campaign won by 52 per cent to 48 per cent with England and Wales voting strongly for Brexit, while London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backed staying in the EU.

This morning, (June 24) Prime Minister David Cameron announced his decision to step down by October following the vote, despite Conservatives including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove signing a letter urging him to stay on whatever the result.

Cameron said in a statement outside Downing Street that he would attempt to "steady the ship" over the coming weeks and months.

Speaking on BBC News, Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Abbott said that one of the biggest challenges that politicians faced in the coming months would be to bring people together.

DEFIANCE

She said: “This was a vote of defiance against the political elite and we have to listen very carefully to what they were trying to say to us.

"There was a lot of talk about immigration, I think in many cases immigration is a proxy for other discontent such as labour market insecurity, our children’s future, what’s happening to the health service.

"But I don’t deny that this is the most momentous vote of my political lifetime. We have to listen carefully to what the electorate is saying. This is going to be an extremely challenging situation and one of the biggest challenges is going to be to bring people together.”

Abbott also rejected the view that Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was out of touch with voters.

SCEPTICAL

She said: “One of the things we now know is that the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Europe, which was always sceptical, is actually closer to the national mood than any other leader of a major party. And that puts him in a strong position to be a voice for working people as we go forward with these negotiations.”

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna also agreed on the need for politicians to bring people together.

SEISMIC

He said: “This is a seismic moment, it’s a big thing for our country. What this has exposed is a lot of division and what this has exposed is that there is a lot of division And there’s a lot of talk as though this is an overwhelming win It isn’t.


DIVISIONS EXPOSED: Chuka Umunna

"There are 48 per cent of people on the current projection who did not vote for this. The challenge for people in this context is how to lead and bring our country together.”

The referendum turnout was 71.8 per cent - with more than 30 million people voting - the highest turnout at a UK election since 1992.

Wales and the majority of England outside London voted in large numbers for Brexit.

Tottenham MP David Lammy, who campaigned passionately for Remain, welcomed the results in his own constituency.
More than three quarters of Haringey voted to remain in the EU.

NEIGHBOURS

Lammy said: “Tonight the people of Haringey have spoken, and it is clear that in this part of our country voters believe that we are better off in the European Union as an outward-looking nation that cooperates with our neighbours.

“From speaking to voters over the past few months I know that for many local people, the risks associated with Brexit were simply too large to countenance in terms of the impact on local jobs and living standards.

“The results here in Haringey are testament to the hard work of the Remain campaign’s activists - especially Labour members and supporters - who have been out pounding the pavements for months, knocking on doors and speaking to voters.


PROUD: Tottenham MP David Lammy said voters in his constituency had decided to remain in the EU

“The results are also a rejection of the divisive nature of the Leave campaign that sought to drive a wedge between communities and play on prejudices and intolerance.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he wanted to reassure Europeans living in London of 'the enormous contribution you make to our city and that will not change as a result of this referendum'.

He said: "I want to send a clear message to the British people and to businesses and investors around the world this morning - there is no need to panic.

"I still believe that our country is better off within the European Union, but there is no doubt that London will continue to be the successful city it is today. Our city and our country will continue to be the best place in the world to do business. And we will continue to look outwards and trade and engage with the entire world - including the European Union."

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