The Latest on Britain's historic vote to leave the European Union (all times local):

5:40 a.m.

Britain's vote to leave the 28-nation European Union is likely to cost Prime Minister David Cameron his job.

The leader of the ruling Conservative Party had staked his reputation on keeping Britain in the EU.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, the most prominent supporter of the "leave" campaign, is now seen as a leading contender to replace Cameron.

Cameron promised the referendum to appease the right wing of his own party and blunt a challenge from the U.K. Independence Party, which pledged to leave the EU. After winning a majority in Parliament in the last election, Cameron negotiated a package of reforms that he said would protect Britain's sovereignty and prevent EU migrants from moving to the U.K. to claim public benefits.

Critics charged that the reforms were hollow, leaving Britain at the mercy of bureaucrats in Brussels and doing nothing to stem the tide of European immigrants coming to the U.K. Those concerns were magnified after more than 1 million people from the Middle East and Africa flooded into the EU last year.

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5:25 a.m.

The result of the British referendum has shocked the markets but delighted "leave" campaigners.

"The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom," U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage declared to loud cheers at a "leave" campaign party. "Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day!"

As results poured in Friday morning, a picture emerged of a sharply divided nation: Strong pro-EU votes in the economic and cultural powerhouse of London and semi-autonomous Scotland were countered by sweeping anti-Establishment sentiment for an exit across the rest of England, from southern seaside towns to rust-belt former industrial powerhouses in the north.

Deputy Labour Party leader John McDonnell says "a lot of people's grievances are coming out and we have got to start listening to them."

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5:15 a.m.

Britain has entered uncharted waters after the country voted to leave the European Union, according to a projection by all main U.K. broadcasters. The decision shatters the stability of the continental unity forged after World War II in hopes of making future conflicts impossible.

The decision raises the likelihood of years of negotiations over trade, business and political links with what will become a 27-nation bloc. In essence the vote marks the start — rather than the end — of a process that could take decades to unwind.

The "leave" side was ahead by 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent Friday morning with more than three-quarters of votes tallied, making a "remain" win a statistical near-impossibility.

The pound suffered one of its biggest one-day falls in history, plummeting more than 10 percent in six hours, from about $1.50 to below $1.35, on concern that severing ties with the single market will hurt the U.K. economy and undermine London's position as a global financial center.