SIR Vince Cable is leading calls for David Cameron to resign as PM after Brits voted overwhelmingly in favour of Brexit, according to reports. Opposition politicians turned on David Cameron last night when it appeared Leave were heading victory, calling for him to go.
The PM is expected to make a statement later this morning in which he will make his position clear, but rumours were circulating this morning that he is at least considering standing down. Former Business Secretary Sir Vince said the PM’s position was “perilous” as the results swung towards Brexit, while Ukip’s Nigel Farage said Cameron should resign “immediately”.
Leading Brexit-backing Tory MPs are understood to be split over whether Mr Cameron should step down. Some have previously called for him to stay on, at least for a period of “stability” as the UK negotiates its withdrawal with the EU.
Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said he “I don’t see how he can survive” claiming Mr Cameron will become a “lame duck” PM. In a disastrous night for the PM, his most senior aides made a dramatic exit from the Remain campaign “victory” party as the results headed for Brexit.
The Britain Stronger in Europe hosted a lavish drinks reception on at London’s Royal Festival Hall on the banks of the Thames. But No10 staff were summoned back to Downing Street as the Prime Minister’s career hung by a thread.
Earlier in the evening pro-EU ministers such as Liz Truss and Nicky Morgan mingled with the campaigner’s rich donors, and the champagne flowed. However as the news came from around the country that the Leave campaign were surging ahead, the mood evaporated and the politicians headed behind closed doors.
It comes just days after senior Tories began a major operation to save Mr Cameron’s Premiership from the ruins of his party’s EU referendum civil war.
The PM was planning to lead the peace drive personally with an address to the nation from No10’s steps early this morning soon after the historic vote’s result is announced.
The BBC’s James Lansdale announced : “David Cameron’s top staff were at the Remain party looking confident. Now they seem to have done a runner.” Sir Vince predicted David Cameron would be out of No 10 if Brexit wins, branding the whole referendum “a very bad call”.
The former Business Secretary warned: “If we are talking about Leave, I fear that his day is now gone.”
He added: “the implications are very, very major.”
Sir Vince told BBC News: “There was a chronic failure to understand what happens when you just throw the cards in the air in that kind of way, all kind of unpredictable things happening, all people’s grievances find an outlet whether it’s got anything to do with Europe or not.
“That was just a very bad call, a very bad judgement and I think it will do David Cameron enormous harm.” Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has also called for Cameron’s resignation.
He said: “If the Prime Minister loses this, then I don’t see how he can survive.” The former First Minister of Scotland warned: “I speak from personal experience, if you stake your career on a referendum and people vote against you, well talk about lame ducks.
“This would be a duck with no legs and no stability all together,” he added.
He described holding the referendum as a “very bad call” by the Prime Minister, who failed to understand what happens “when you just throw the cards in the air”. He added: “If his party do persuade him to stay on his authority is completely gone, I would have thought that any sense of self respect would make him want to go.
“So if we are talking about a Leave win, even if it’s a very small one, I feel that his day is now gone.” As a Leave victory looked ever more likely in the early hours, senior Tories began to cast doubt on the Prime Minister’s future.
Veteran Eurosceptic Bill Cash said whoever was in Number 10 would need to be “absolutely and completely committed to Brexit”.
But former leadership contender and Brexiteer David Davis poured cold water on the calls, saying “we don’t need more disruption” while the UK negotiates its exit. He added he believes Mr Cameron will remain in post “for the next few years”.
Senior Leave campaigner Liam Fox also called for the PM to stay on, saying “we don’t need political instability into the mix”. At 6am this morning the Leave campaign crossed the line after a number of victories against the odds propelled Brexiteers to victory.
The country voted 52% to Leave compared to 48% for Leave.