Voters in our region have backed Britain’s exit from the European Union in their droves in an extraordinary referendum night which divided the nation.

Early relief within the remain camp at the final opinion poll which showed them narrowly ahead ebbed away as early results in the north and Wales suggested a stronger Brexit vote than predicted.

The pound fell sharply on financial markets overnight amid a flurry of good results for the campaign to leave and dropped to its lowest level since 1985.

A swathe of early Essex votes which gave the leave campaign a significant lead were followed by a Brexit vote in Ipswich, where 41.7pc for remain, while 58.3pc opted to leave.

In Forest Heath 65pc backed leave, while 35pc backed remain. In Waveney, where the fishing town of Lowestoft is based, 63pc opted to leave, while 37pc wanted to remain.

Suffolk Coastal voted 53pc for leave and 47pc for remain, while Babergh was 54pc for leave, 46pc remain.

St Edmundsbury were 57pc for leave, while 43pc wanted to stay in Europe.

And in Mid Suffolk 55pc wanted to leave, and 45pc would rather have stayed in the EU.

But Norwich voted to stay with 56.2pc backing the continued membership of the European Union.

Despite signs the nation had voted to leave, prime minister David Cameron’s position appeared to be secure for the time being after most pro-Leave Tories in our region signed a letter urging him to stay on as leader whatever the result of the referendum. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove also said they wanted the premier to stay.

Braintree MP James Cleverly, Colchester MP Will Quince and Witham MP Priti Patel all endorsed a view that he had a mandate to remain at Number 10.

After record numbers of people registered to vote, turnout in what was billed a once-in-a-generation vote was well over 70pc, far higher than in last year’s general election.

While Conservatives largely backed their leader, when asked if Mr Cameron should resign, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said: “Immediately.”

Douglas Carswell, the only UKIP MP and representative for Clacton, said: “The arrogant, smug elite who have run this country and sign us up to these treaties have been brought to a heel. Instead of us answering to them, they need to listen to us.

“How dare they spend our money on their priorities, sign us up to foreign judges, and smear us for wanting to control our borders.”

Recriminations already appeared to be surfacing in Labour ranks as MPs who had pushed for Britain to remain, described the party as “out of touch” and bemoaned a divided country as northern Labour cities and towns like Sunderland, Rochdale and Oldham comfortably voted for Leave.

Senior Labour figures including Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper suggested that the scale of support for Leave was fuelled by discontent with the way the country was heading on issues like wages, jobs and opportunities for the young.

Vicky Ford MEP said if Leave won we need to work to minimise economic damage. She added: “We have warned [people] that if they choose to vote leave there would be economic consequences.”