Brexit referendum: How day unfolded as markets panicked, votes tallied and Leave triumphed

Britain leapt into the unknown on Friday (June 24) after becoming the first country to walk out of the European Union in the bloc's 60-year history.

The result in favour of the Leave camp has spread panic through global markets, as the pound collapsed to a 31-year low.

Here is a timeline of the day as it unfolded since polls closed at 5am Singapore time:

5am - Polls close across the United Kingdom. Counting officially kicks off at the 382 local counting areas.

6.30am - Overseas territory Gibraltar is the first to declare, and votes overwhelmingly for the UK to stay in the European Union.

7am - The first setback for the Remain camp. Newcastle-upon-Tyne votes for Remain, but at a percentage much lower than expected - 50.7 per cent. The pound gives back almost all gains since the close of voting.


7.15am - The second blow. Sunderland votes to leave the EU, with 61.4 per cent of voters opting for Brexit.

8.30am - Leave camp posts strong early results, prompting a surge in Google searches of "What happens if we leave the EU?"

9.30am - The pound drops further, falling to its lowest since 2009. The loss of 5 per cent against the dollar is even larger than during the global financial crisis. Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index drops 1 per cent right off the mark, within minutes of trading.

9.45am - The Remain camp takes a slight lead, but saw its razor-thin margin pegged back quickly as Leave pushes ahead. Bookmakers like Ladbrokes make Leave the favourite to win. As the lead swings back and forth, Asian markets follow.

10.50am - Yet another blow for Remain as Nottingham votes to Leave. Remain had been expected to win narrowly there, but loses by some 2,000 votes.

11am - Anti-EU figurehead Nigel Farage, who had earlier said that Remain would narrowly scrape victory, trumpets on Twitter: "I now dare to dream that the dawn is coming up on an independent United Kingdom."

He adds: "We will have won for the whole of Europe... June 23 will go down in our history as our independence day."


11.10am - The pound falls to $1.3459 vs the US dollar, its lowest since September 1985.

11.15am - Scotland votes to remain in the EU. Major cities Glasgow (67 per cent to 33 per cent) and Edinburgh (74 per cent to 26 per cent) post big victories for Remain. Wales, however, votes to leave the EU despite a Remain win in Cardiff.

11.30am - Polling expert John Curtice tells the BBC that the UK-wide turnout is 72 per cent - the highest in a nationwide ballot since 1992.

11.40am - Broadcasters ITV, BBC and Sky News all forecast: Leave has won.

12pm - Northern Ireland declares in favour of Remain - 55.7 per cent of the vote, against Leave's 44.3 per cent.

12.15pm - A sea of red ink across Asian markets as the Leave camp's victory is all but secured. Shanghai is down 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong down 4.7 per cent, and Tokyo down 6.7 per cent. In Singapore, the STI is haemorrhaging, dropping 2.54 per cent to hit its lowest in three months.

12.45pm - The final results loom closer. With just 15 of the 382 areas left to report, Leave leads by 3.4 per cent, accumulating more than 16.3 million votes, versus Remain's 15.3 million. The Singapore dollar slumps 1.7 per cent versus the greenback, according to Bloomberg, in its biggest drop since November 2011.

1pm - Official results confirm it - the UK has voted to leave the EU. Not all areas have reported but the Leave camp has secured the 16.784 million votes needed to guarantee victory.

2.05pm - All the votes are in. With all 382 areas reported, Leave has won with 51.9 per cent of the vote, 17,410,742 votes in total. Remain garnered 48.1 per cent of the vote - 16,141,241 votes.