Fri | Feb 23, 2018

UK Conservatives sign letter to keep Cameron as PM while referendum ballot count continues

Published:Thursday | June 23, 2016 | 6:31 PM
A general view of the main entrance into Manchester Town Hall, the setting for the national referendum count following voting on the UK membership of the European Union in Manchester, England today.

Dozens of Conservative lawmakers who called for Britain to leave the European Union have signed a letter saying Prime Minister David Cameron should stay in office whichever side wins the membership referendum.

The letter signed by 84 legislators says "whatever the British people, decide you have both a mandate and a duty to continue leading the nation implementing our policies".

That leaves more than 60 Brexit-supporting Tory lawmakers who did not sign.

The referendum on the EU has deeply split Cameron's Conservative party. Cameron led the "remain" campaign, but senior figures including Justice Secretary Michael Gove and former London Mayor Boris Johnson backed a "leave" vote.

Many observers feel Cameron will have to resign if Britons vote to leave the 28-nation bloc.

At 10 p.m. UK time polls closed in Britain's historic referendum to decide whether the country remains in the European Union.

The voting today was hampered by torrential rain and some flooding in London and parts of southeast England.

Counting is underway with results expected Friday morning.

Final polls suggested a close race.

Prime Minister Cameron led the campaign to keep Britain inside the 28-nation bloc.

He argued that participation strengthens Britain's economy and security.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson and others on the "leave" side said Britain would be stronger and wealthier on its own.

The divisive campaign saw heated rhetoric on both sides and split the ranks of Cameron's Conservative Party.