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Cameron resigns as Prime Minister following referendum defeat

The Prime Minister campaigned for a Remain vote in the EU referendum.

By STV News

Published 24 Jun 2016.

David Cameron has announced he is to step down as Prime Minister within months following the country's decision to leave the European Union.

His decision was announced in a speech on the steps of Downing Street on Friday morning.

Cameron said: "I fought this campaign in the only way I know how, which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel - head, heart and soul.

"I held nothing back, I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union and I made clear the referendum was about this and this alone - not the future of any single politician including myself.

"But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.

"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.

He added: "This is not a decision I've taken lightly but I do believe it's in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.

"There is no need for a precise timetable today but in my view we should aim to have a new prime minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October.

"Delivering stability will be important and I will continue in post as Prime Minister with my Cabinet for the next three months."

The Prime Minister campaigned for the United Kingdom to remain inside the European Union, however, many of his party's members and MPs argued for the nation to leave the EU.

The UK voted by a majority of 52% to leave the organisation.

A contest to become the next leader of the Conservative Party leader to replace Cameron will now follow.

Conservative MPs who wish to stand in the contest must attract at least 41 nominations from their colleagues.

If more than two candidates stand then an internal election amongst Conservative MPs will take place which will narrow the contest down to only two candidates.

Ordinary Conservative members will then vote on who will lead the party out of the final two candidates.

Leading contenders for the role include George Osborne, Theresa May and Conservative MP Boris Johnson.

The secretary of state for Scotland David Mundell has offered to meet the Scottish Government to discuss the country's "next steps".

Mundell said: "David Cameron has been a great leader of my party and of our country. I was proud to be one of his first supporters during the 2005 leadership election and I have never regretted that decision for a moment.

"His achievements in rescuing our economy and in social reform will stand the test of time. Today he has once again put country before self.

"As the Prime Minister made clear this morning, the UK Government is absolutely committed to working closely with the Scottish Government to ensure they are fully involved in the negotiation process.

"The Prime Minister has already spoken to the First Minister and I have today offered to meet with the Scottish Government in Edinburgh to discuss next steps.

"The United Kingdom has fundamental strengths and this is a time for calmness and deliberation - not pushing other personal or political agendas."

Cameron is one the party's longest serving leaders in the modern age. He has led the party since 2005.

His elevation to Prime Minister in 2010 at the age of 43 following the creation of the coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats made him the youngest Prime Minister since 1812.