Britain, EU relation on knife-edge as historic EU referendum counted

London, June 24: Britons voting to leave the European Union outnumbered “Remain” partisans by a margin of 6,931 in the first returns from Thursday’s referendum.

“Leave” carried the day in the northeastern English city of Sunderland by 61 per cent to 39 per cent, amid turnout of 65 per cent.

In Newcastle, just 21 km away, Remain prevailed by 50.7 per cent to 49.3 per cent with turnout of nearly 68 per cent, EFE news agency reported.

Voters in Gibraltar were massively in favour of staying in the EU and the Orkney Islands also ended up in the Remain column.

The city of Swindon, in the southwest, voted Leave by 55 per cent to 45 per cent. Voters in Broxbourne, a suburb of London, likewise opted for a British exit — Brexit — from the EU.

A YouGov poll released right after the polls closed showed the Remain side prevailing by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

Meanwhile, as ballot boxes are being counted at more than 380 count venues after the EU referendum in Britain closed at 10 p.m. local time yesterday; Britain, EU relation stands on knife-edge.

According to the six main polls’ results on Wednesday, only Opinium and TNS showed the Leave side gained more supports, while Populus, ComRes, Ipsos MORI and YouGov had more supports from the Remain side.

While NatCen Social Research’s poll of polls suggested that 52 per cent would vote stay, and 48 per cent leave.

Meanwhile, sterling strengthened against the US dollar, hitting around 1.48 on Thursday. This is a rise from the 1.40 point hit on June 16, and is now not far off the 1.54 rate in May last year when the decision to have a referendum was announced.

Results were declared throughout the night, and the final result will be officially declared at Manchester Town Hall, probably around breakfast time, local time, Friday.

Millions of Britons went to about 41,000 polling stations on Thursday to cast their ballots in the referendum on whether their country should remain in or leave the European bloc.

Figures from the Electoral Commission showed a record of 46.5 million people were entitled to take part in the nationwide referendum of Britain.

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