What would be David Cameron future as UK leaves EU
Prime Minister David Cameron may go down in history as the man who led Britain out of the European Union, with a strong chance that he will not survive the country's political earthquake.
As Britain voted to become the first state ever to withdraw from the bloc on Thursday, according to national media forecasts, Cameron's epitaph could be sealed after six years in power.
"He's put himself front and centre of the 'Remain' campaign, and to have lost the campaign would be a massive blow to his credibility," Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London said earlier.
"We probably would, within a few days or weeks, see him signal his intention to go as soon as a leadership contest could be conducted," he told AFP.
Brexit brought to an end Cameron's winning run, having become prime minister in 2010, winning a referendum to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom in 2014 and securing a surprise outright victory for his Conservative Party in last year's general election.
Kenneth Clarke, a senior Conservative and former finance minister who wanted to stay in the EU , said Cameron "wouldn't last 30 seconds" if he lost the referendum.
However, 84 Conservative MPs who favoured Brexit offered an olive branch as the results emerged, telling Cameron in a joint letter that he had a "duty and a mandate" to lead the country, whatever the outcome.
If he accepts the offer, Cameron faces a huge battle to re-establish his authority after a bitter campaign that has divided his party.
He may not last long in any case as he has indicated that he would step down as prime minister before the 2020 election to make way for new blood.