Article / 24 June 2016 at 0:55 GMT

Brexit: How it unfolds when the voting stops

First in Business Worldwide. /


On Thursday night one of the most important stockmarket and political questions of the year will be answered - whether the UK will remain part of the European Union. How will the results unfold? 

Thursday 2200 GMT

Polls will close around the UK in the referendum at 2200 GMT. While there won't be traditional exit polls from UK national broadcasters in the manner of a general election, the results of some alternative exit polls, including one by YouGov, may be available.

Stay or go? The action really starts at around 0300-0400 GMT

Friday 0030 GMT

Early results from around the country are expected to start arriving .While it is only the overall share of the vote gained by either Leave or Remain which really matters, these results should give a flavour of which way the country is turning.

There are 382 counting areas in total, varying in size from 1,700 to 700,000 eligible voters. Sunderland, in the North of England, Wandsworth in London and Foyle in Northern Ireland are expected to be the first to report.

Watch out for Sunderland, with its Labour-voting, blue collar demographic, as it is expected to be a key indicator of whether the Leave campaign has swayed this demographic, according to Open Europe, the think tank.

Friday 0300-0400 GMT

A flurry of results are expected during this period, and areas representing around 75% of the UK population should have declared by now.

Key areas to watch for include Conservative Party strongholds like Cheltenham, according to Open Europe.

Friday 0700 GMT

The final results are expected to come in, with a declaration of the result made in Manchester. If UK voters have opted for Leave, the political fallout of the campaign, particularly the divisions exposed in the ruling Conservative Party, is expected to escalate quickly.

Friday 0800 GMT

London's stockmarkets are due to open. In the event of a Leave vote, trading may be suspended, according to a warning from UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

If the Leave campaign has triumphed, this is likely to be one of the year's busiest trading days as market participants digest the result.

-- Edited by Adam Courtenay

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