EU referendum: South votes overwhelmingly to leave the EU

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Oxford count
Image caption,
Oxford was the first district to declare their votes in the EU referendum, but it seems that the majority of the South wish to leave

Voters in the south of England have overwhelmingly backed leaving the EU.

The Remain campaign was initially boosted after Oxford declared 70% of voters wanted to stay in the union, while Reading following suit with 58% in favour.

But in larger cities and towns such as Portsmouth, Southampton, and Bournemouth people voted for Brexit.

Nearly 52% of the 2.3m votes counted were for the Leave campaign, similar to the national outlook.

In Gosport, 63% of voters sided with the Leave campaign. Havant, the New Forest, Test Valley, Rushmoor also voted to leave, but Fareham, East Hampshire and Hart declared a win for remain.

Southampton voted leave, with nearly 54% of voters backing Brexit. More than 58% of voters in Portsmouth also voted to leave.

Analysis by BBC South political editor Peter Henley

Early signs of a vote to leave the EU were confirmed as each counting centre in the South returned majorities in favour of Brexit.

Along the South coast in places like Southampton, Gosport, Bournemouth and Portsmouth, the votes piled up with immigration as the main reason to leave in Labour areas.

Only in the University town of Oxford and commuter areas around London, like Woking and Winchester, did remain seem to find a majority.

As a tension switches to David Cameron's future, he can take some consolation that in West Oxfordshire and parts of Berkshire people were loyal to his message

So far, all Oxfordshire districts have declared a remain majority vote to stay in the EU.

In Berkshire, 51.6% of the electorate voted to remain, although Slough and Bracknell Forest both voted to leave.

In Dorset all the districts voted to leave the EU, with 54% of voters in Bournemouth backing the calls for Britain to exit the European Union.

Earlier, tempers frayed at the Oxford count after a councillor was ejected from the town hall when he clashed with security staff who refused him entry. Oxford City councillor Mike Rowley attempted to enter the venue at about 00:30 BST.

Image caption,
Oxford city councillor Mike Rowley was restrained by door staff at Oxford Town Hall when he was refused entry to the EU referendum count

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