LAST Thursday evening, as the EU referendum polling day drew to a close, I sat in the late evening sunshine and drank tea with my friend Kevin Hollinrake, the MP for the neighbouring Thirsk and Malton constituency.

We reflected on the campaign, the parts we played on different sides of the argument and resolved that whatever the outcome we would continue to work together for the benefit of our North Yorkshire constituents.

We had little inkling of the way events would turn out. Almost a week later, the political landscape seems to have been turned upside down. But one thing hasn’t changed and that’s our resolve to play our parts in helping to make the outcome work for the benefit of all.

This momentous decision of the British people is a great one and I was particularly pleased with the result in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Yorkshire as a whole – there was a clear majority in favour of leaving.

In Richmondshire 57 per cent voted in favour of coming out. In Hambleton it was 53 per cent and in Yorkshire and the Humber 58 per cent.

The 72 per cent turnout (higher than the General Election and the highest in a national election since 1992) demonstrates that democracy is alive and well. The people really are in charge and it is clear they want change.

The best way forward is for everybody to respect the result of this most democratic decision and implement it to the best of our collective ability.

Hard work lies ahead to make sure that we take full advantage of the great opportunities that leaving the EU affords us.

I do not underestimate the need for the Government to ensure stability in the coming months, but I am confident that we will now be able to fulfil the great potential that this country has as a truly independent nation.

Before the result was known I was one of the MPs campaigning for Leave who urged David Cameron to stay in post whatever the outcome. But I respect his decision to stand down for a new leader to guide the country through the next stage in this process.

He is an honourable man and strong leader and should be warmly congratulated for the enormous contribution he has made to our country while Prime Minister.

I would firmly echo the Prime Minister’s remarks on Monday that we need to reassure markets and investors. Britain’s economy is fundamentally strong and will remain so I believe.

There will also be no initial change in the way Britons can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold. The UK will remain in the European Union while we negotiate our exit with our European neighbours.

One thing I am sure everybody can agree on is that we must immediately clamp down hard on the appalling instances of xenophobia and racism that have been reported since the result was announced. There is no place for hatred as we all work to bring the country together again.