33,577,642 British (and Commonwealth, Irish, Cypriot and Maltese citizens living in the UK) voted on 23 June in favour of the UK leaving the EU. Some of those who voted were those Britons living abroad who registered to vote before the final 9 June deadline.
"Leave" beat "Remain" by 1,269,501 votes. It is difficult not to imagine the difference that full voting rights for the 4 million or so British abroad of voting age could have made to the result, if the promised Votes For Life Bill had been enacted. After months of campaigning, often unedifying and ill-informed, the result will bring further uncertainty and pain as the government grapples with the reality of what it has unleashed, and attempts to strike favourable agreements of all kinds with the organisation and the countries it has just repudiated.
Announcing on 24 June that he would leave office by October 2016, the Prime Minister said that British citizen living in other European member states, and EU nationals living in the UK, will not experience any immediate change in their circumstances.
He said negotiations with the European Union, including the decision on when to trigger Article 50, must be taken by the new Prime Minister.
The new Prime Minister and the government will have to work to reunite a divided country, especially in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the vote went decisively in the opposite direction to the rest of the United Kingdom.
The British Community Committee of France will continue to defend the interests of the British in France amid the uncertainties of the coming months and years, as it has striven to do since 1937.
A petition to the government has achieved over a million and a half signatures in less than 2 days, which suggests a high degree of regret at the referendum result. It is available at the government petitions website https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131215 under the heading "EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum". The website is under very heavy pressure, so it may take several attempts to get in.
It accepts signatures from British nationals living outside the UK, provided that you cliick on the small circle left of the sentence "I am a British citizen or UK resident". The website then sends you an e-mail containing a link on which you must click to validate your signature.