North-East vote underscores strength of Leave vote and sends pound tumbling
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Voters in Sunderland helped to spark a sharp fall in the value of the pound on the financial markets after giving a resounding thumbs-up to leaving the EU with 61pc backing Brexit.
Early indications of the strength of the Leave vote were underscored by results in the North-East when Newcastle Upon Tyne declared a narrow victory for Remain. The result, which saw 50.7pc of voters backing Remain, compared with 49.3pc for Leave was far closer than predicted.
In East Anglia, shortly before 1am, staff at the Leave campaign were predicting that they would win the regional vote by a 60pc to 40pc margin, while turnout in both Norwich and Great Yarmouth was said to be 69pc.
While the Sunderland result was not a shock, Remain campaigners had hoped for a stronger result in Newcastle and both results had an immediate impact on the financial markets as Sterling dropped sharply by around 3pc in an instant reaction to the Sunderland result – falling from 1.50 to 1.43 against the US dollar as earlier confidence in the markets took a hit and traders took on board the possibility of a strong result for Leave.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed the 'fantastic results' yet was still sticking to his earlier prediction that Remain would 'nick it'.
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Earlier, he told Sky News that the Remain camp seemed likely to 'edge it', but insisted that his party would continue its fight to take Britain out of the EU.
There were no exit polls in the vote, but a YouGov opinion poll released as polling stations closed had put Remain ahead by 52pc to 48pc.
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Mr Farage said: 'It's been an extraordinary referendum campaign, turnout looks to be exceptionally high and [it] looks like Remain will edge it.
'UKIP and I are going nowhere and the party will only continue to grow stronger in the future.'