“The country has just taken part in a giant democratic exercise – perhaps the biggest in our history. Over 33 million people – from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar – have all had their say.
We should be proud of the fact that in these islands we trust the people with these big decisions.
We not only have a parliamentary democracy, but on questions about the arrangements for how we are governed, there are times when it is right to ask the people themselves – and that is what we have done.
The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected.
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.
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.”