Leader of Britain's Leave campaign Boris Johnson said there was no need to rush the severing of ties with the Europe Union following the historical referendum.
"In voting to leave the EU it is vital to stress that there is now no need for haste," the former London mayor told a press conference Friday in his first public comments since the Brexit results were announced.
"I believe the British people have spoken up for democracy in Britain and across Europe and I think we can be very proud of the result," he added.
Just hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would step down in coming months, Johnson said the EU had been "a noble idea for its time" but was "no longer right for this country".
He insisted the Brexit vote "does not mean that the United Kingdom will be in any way less united" or "less European".
The former journalist also reached out to the "the millions of people who did not vote for this outcome, especially young people, who may feel that this decision in some way involves pulling up a drawbridge or any kind of isolationism".
"Because I think the very opposite is true," he said.
Johnson - the prime minister heir apparent - also praised Cameron, calling him a "brave and principled man" who provided "superb leadership".
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Further north in the United Kingdom, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested a second independence vote was now "on the table" following the result of the Brexit vote.
"The option of a second referendum must be on the table and it is on the table," she said, adding that legislation for another vote following the one held in 2014 would be prepared when the Scottish Parliament approved it.
Scottish voters overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU, by 62 per cent to 38 per cent with all 32 council areas voting to Remain.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will resign his position following the loss of the referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.
"The people have been voted and their will must be respected," Cameron told the media outside No 10 Downing Street.
"I would assure those people and those markets that Britain's economy is strong.
"We must now prepare for a negotiation with the EU."
Having taken a view counter to the will of the people, Cameron said he would step down from the job and allow new leadership to take charge as the UK begins to part ways with Europe.
"Will require strong determined and committed leadership," he said, before going on to say that leader should no longer be him.
"The British people, have made a very clear decision to take a different path.
"I will do everything I can as prime minister to steer the ship over the next weeks and months.
"But I do not think that it would be right for me to try to be the captain who steers this country to its next destination."
Cameron announced he would "steady the ship" and stay on as leader until October when the Conservative Party meets for its national conference.
The Tory leader had staked his reputation on keeping Britain in the EU.
A large crowd had gathered outside the home of former London mayor Boris Johnson, but the heir apparent did not address the public after Cameron's resignation.
Despite not currently sitting in the UK Parliament, many favour Johnson's chances at replacing Cameron - including the betting agencies, with Coral putting odds as narrow as 8/11.
The UK voted to leave the European Union after counting remained neck-and-neck overnight.
With all districts reporting, the final vote came in at 48.11 per cent stay, 51.89 per cent leave.
It was on a knife edge as the nation went to bed but the Leave party pulled ahead to take the win, eight hours after the polling booths closed.
Pollster, betting agencies and markets were sure of the Remain vote would triumph, but the shock result caused the British pound to crash to a 31-year low and share prices slumped, sending investors in panic mode. The UK FTSE slumped nearly 8 per cent upon opening.
Voting officials said the vote was one of the largest turnouts in UK's history.
While England and Wales voted to Leave, Scotland and Northern Ireland opted in favour of Remain.
All 32 local authority areas in Scotland returned majority votes in favour to stay, with the country’s First Minster Nicole Sturgeon saying the vote “makes clear that the people of Scotland see their future as part of the European Union”.
The lead changed several times as the votes were counted after the 10pm close of the polls, with Leave taking a head start with the count of the first 42 regions.
By the time 84 results were in, Remain were back in the lead, but not by much (34-50).
Leave won comfortably in the north-east declarations, the industrial heartland of shipping, mining and steel.
A large majority of Welsh authorities declared they would leave while only three voted to Remain.
The event has been described as the biggest vote of a generation as Britons flocked to the polls to decide on whether or not to leave the European Union.
Gibraltar was the first place to publicly declare a result with 96 per cent of voters in the British overseas territory backing to stay in the EU, BBC reports.
Within seconds of the polls closing UKIP leader Nigel Farage admitted that he believed the Remain side had 'edged' the contest.
The extraordinary statement came as voting ended at 10pm UK time, after a day of storms and floods in the UK.
"It's been an extraordinary referendum campaign, turnout looks to be exceptionally high and looks like Remain will edge it. UKIP and I are going nowhere and the party will only continue to grow stronger in the future," Mr Farage said.
EARLIER POLLS INDICATE MANY WOULD VOTE TO STAY
A poll of 5000 people by YouGov for Sky News found 52 per cent had voted to stay within the European Union with 48 per cent voting out.
Up to 46 million people were registered to cast their vote in the historic referendum, where recent polls suggest the outcome is too close to call.
Financial markets, which have been on edge for weeks over the uncertain outcome, rose yesterday on the strength of late polls that showed a swing towards staying in.
If Britain becomes the first state to exit the EU, the so-called Brexit would be the biggest blow to the 28-nation bloc since its foundation.
The EU would be stripped of its second-biggest economy and one of its two main military powers, and could face calls for similar votes by anti-EU politicians in other countries.
TURNBULL: 'BIG SHOCK IF UK LEAVES EU'
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the media on Friday afternoon and said the outcome of Brexit would not effect trade agreements between Australia and Europe or our relationship with Britain.
“This is a momentous and historic decision and we respect the wishes of the British people, expressed through this referendum,” Mr Turnbull said.
“It is important to remember that the Australian economy is strong and resilient and has weathered global shocks before and weathered them well,” he said.
He added that Britain’s departure from the European Union could take several years to complete, which would allow appropriate time for all economies to prepare.
In the lead up to the referendum, Malcolm Turnbull said it would be a 'big shock' if the UK left the EU.
Speaking to reporters in Geelong on Thursday he added: "There will be obviously great efforts to ensure that the consequences of that shock are minimised."
Australian business leaders have thrown their support behind the Remain camp as it emerged the UK was the second favourite investment destination for Australians, ABC reports.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has declared Australia well placed to withstand any economic fallout from a a potential British departure from the European Union.
"If Britain decides to leave it will take quite some time for the conditions of the exit to be negotiated I would imagine," Ms Bishop told media, adding that would give Australia plenty of time to consider a response.
Many Australian businesses use the British economy as an entrance into the European economy.
AUSSIE BUSINESS OWNERS WORRY ABOUT IMPACT OF UK LEAVING EU
Australian British Chamber of Commerce chief executive David McCredie told ABC some Australian business owners were worried how the UK leaving the EU would impact on their own business opportunities.
"If there's a challenge to the connectivity between the UK and the continent and Ireland of course then it may challenge that perspective for Australian investors looking at Europe," he said.
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The Brexit vote would also deal a potentially fatal blow to the career of Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum and campaigned for the country to stay in, against a Leave camp led by rivals from within his own Conservative party.
After four months of campaigning, polling stations opened at 7am local time and closed at 10pm (0700 AEST on Friday), with results expected to be announced by the 382 individual local counting areas between around midnight and 2am on Friday.
The Leave campaign says Britain would recover full sovereignty and the economy would benefit from a Brexit.
It focused its campaign on warnings that Britain would be unable to control immigration levels as long as it was an EU member.
Remain argued a Brexit would cause financial chaos, impoverish the nation and diminish its influence on world affairs, emphasising the economic benefits of membership and the risks posed by leaving.
WHAT IS 'BREXIT'?
The Brexit is about Britain exiting the European Union.
Britain has more than 45 million eligible voters and turnout is expected to be huge. In just the last month, more than one and a half million people registered to vote in this historic referendum.
Currently, Britain is one of 28 countries in the European Union – an area of free trade and open borders. The vote to Brexit or remain boils down to three main issues:Laws, Trade and Immigration.
Those in favour of a Brexit say a lot has changed since Britain first entered the EU’s predecessor organization in 1973. They claim the EU is now dysfunctional: too big, too open and too bureaucratic.
The leader of the U.K. Independence Party pushing for a Brexit is Nigel Farage. He says the needs of Britain’s working class have been overshadowed by elites. “It is the establishment, it is the wealthy, it is the multinationals, it is the big banks, it is those whose lives have really done rather well in the last few years who support remaining and against it, it’s the people” argues Farage.
Farage is joined by former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who argued that “what the public wants, if I may say so, is for us to concentrate relentlessly on the things that matter to them. Taking back control of huge sums of money, 10 billon pounds a year. Taking back control of our borders, our immigration policy, and fundamentally taking back control of our democracy.”
Those who want Britain to remain in the EU cite concerns about growth – some economists warn of a drop in British GDP of 2% if Britain leaves the EU.They also fear a weakened currency and a tarnish to London’s standing as a world financial center.
Leading the argument to stay is Prime Minister David Cameron. “I hope that we wake up on June the 24th knowing that businesses are going to invest more in our country, create more jobs in our country, see more growth in our country, cause that will help the families of our country,” Cameron said in an address to Parliament last week.