UPDATE: West Suffolk votes to leave the EU

Vote Leave campaigners for St Edmundsbury
Vote Leave campaigners for St Edmundsbury
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Residents of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury have voted to leave the European Union - as voters propelled the country to ‘Brexit’.

Forest Heath’s result, which was announced at 3.06am, was 18,160 votes to leave with 9,791 to remain.

St Edmundsbury’s result, announced at 03.53am, was 35,224 votes to leave and 26,986 to remain.

They reflected the direction of the country after 52 per cent of voters nationwide chose to leave the EU and 48 per cent opted to remain.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who led the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, has since announced he will step down by October.

Local counting began at 1am at the Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre.

Turnout in Forest Heath, which includes Newmarket and Mildenhall, was 72.6 per cent with the number of verified votes 27,977.

Newmarket UKIP town and county councillor Dave Hudson said he was very pleased with the Forest Heath result. “I thought we would get a good result and at the moment across the country it looks as if it will be very close.”

Turnout in St Edmundsbury was 76.7 per cent with 62,256 votes verified.

There were 26 rejected papers in Forest Heath and 45 in St Edmundsbury.

At the count, Nathan Baker, Vote Leave co-ordinator and St Edmundsbury resident, said this was the result he had been expecting. “We’ve spent weeks canvassing for this and I’m just so proud for the people of Bury that they have voted for a true democracy and in rejection of the ‘United States of Europe’.”

“I think project fear has been overcome by project aspiration,” he added.

Today David Nettleton, who is part of the Bury St Edmunds Stronger in Europe group, said: “I’m very disappointed and I think the voters have made the wrong decision but they’re entitled to make it - that’s the idea of democracy but of course turmoil on the markets and it’s caused the resignation of the Prime Minister.

“I think Cameron made the right decision to resign.”

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill tweeted: “Truly saddened by the announcement of our Prime Minister who has served our party and country with outstanding commitment.”

In an interview with the Bury Free Press earlier this week before the referendum, Mrs Churchill, who supported the remain campaign, said: “Whatever the decision is on Friday morning, we will go to work on Monday and respect the people’s decision and move forward.”