British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday morning said he would step down after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union in a historic referendum.
Speaking outside his Downing Street office, Mr. Cameron said he would remain in his position for the next three months and that the aim should be to have a new leader in place by the start of the Conservative Party’s annual conference in October.
“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 to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination,” said Mr. Cameron, who led the campaign to keep Britain in the EU. “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 announcement of his intention to resign marks a dramatic downfall for a man who first took office in 2010 as head of a coalition government and just last year won a resounding victory for a second term, the first time in 23 years his center-right party had secured a majority in a general election.
The vote to leave the EU was approved by 52% of U.K. voters, according to final tallies released early Friday. The referendum was pledged by Mr. Cameron in 2013 as he faced mounting pressure from euroskeptics within his own party and others.