A landmark result means Britain has voted to leave the European Union.
Voters in Scotland and London overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU but in Wales and large parts of England gave Brexit a predicted 52 per cent lead over 48 per cent for Remain. After a bitterly fought referendum the leadership of both Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, who both campaigned strongly for remain, will be under threat.
The pound fell dramatically to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 as markets reacted to the shock decision.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who has campaigned to leave, hailed the night as a "victory" and "independence day" for Britain.
Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader who campaigned to remain, expressed his disappointment on Twitter.
God help our country.— Paddy Ashdown (@paddyashdown) 24 June 2016
The Archbishops of Canterbury, York and Durham had all said they would vote to remain in the UK. But polls showed among ordinary Christians, the majority backed Brexit.
Adrian Hilton, chair of the pro-Brexit group Christians for Britain, said it was a "glorious result for liberty, democracy and the sovereignty of the people".
He told Christian Today: "This was always about how and by whom we are governed; not immigration or GDP. It was about regaining control from aloof and indifferent bureaucrats in Brussels, and being able to hold our own elected politicians to account.
"Many Christians I know have longed, prayed and worked for this day for decades. The people have sent a clear message to those who hold and exercise power that we want to be governed in accordance with our own traditions and mores; that we want to look to and trade with the whole world, not be confined to a myopic political union on one continent."
The UK would be the first country to leave the EU since its formation and it will take years to unravel the full consequences of the decision.
The Prime Minster has said he will implement the EU's Article 50 immediately in the event of a vote to leave. This would trigger the process of leaving the union but could take up to two years.
A picture of a sharply divided nation emerged after the night's results as London was shown to be at odds with the majority of other regions.
Pat McFadden, Labour's MP for Wolverhampton South East and a former shadow Europe minister, said: "It shows a country just split down the middle".
McFadden, who is a Christian and resigned from Corbyn's front bench, added: "Certainly for people voting to come out, immigration is very high on their list of concerns but there is also something else here too, a real sense of pessimism among people and their place in the UK."
Gisela Stuart, a Labour MP who has campaigned to leave Britain said she felt "excited" by the result. But she told the BBC there was "clearly some disconnect" between the majority of MPs who campaigned to remain and the British people.
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