David Cameron has condemned “despicable” racism directed at immigrants and ethnic minority Britons after the vote to leave the European Union.
The Prime Minister hit out at those who have abused EU immigrants and black or Asian people as he insisted the country “will not stand for hate crime”.
Mr Cameron also stood by his warnings about the risks of Brexit, stressing there would now be “adjustments” in the economy, the threat of the UK breaking up, and “challenging negotiations” with the EU.
Giving a statement at his first Commons appearance since the referendum and his subsequent resignation announcement, Mr Cameron said: “We have a fundamental responsibility to bring our country together.
“In the past few days we have seen despicable graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre, we’ve seen verbal abuse hurled against individuals because they are members of ethnic minorities.
“Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country.
“We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks, they must be stamped out.”
Mr Cameron also insisted the result of the referendum must be respected and Britain must leave the EU.
“The British people have voted to leave the European Union,” he said.
“It was not the result I wanted, nor the outcome that I believe is best for the country I love. But there can be no doubt about the result.
“Of course I don’t take back what I said about the risks, it is going to be difficult.
“We have already seen that there are going to be adjustments within our economy, complex constitutional issues, and challenging new negotiation to undertake with Europe.
“But I am clear and the Cabinet agreed this morning that the decision must be accepted and the process of implementing the decision in the best possible way must now begin.”
Mr Cameron moved to reassure European citizens living in the UK and Britons living abroad that there will be “no immediate changes in their circumstances”.
He highlighted that there will be no “initial change” to the way in which people in the UK travel or to the way goods move and services are sold.
He also suggested the country is “well placed” to face any economic challenges arising as a result of Brexit.
He said: “It’s clear that markets are volatile. There are some companies considering their investments and we know this is going to be far from plain sailing.
“However, we should take confidence from the fact that Britain is ready to confront what the future holds for us from a position of strength.
“As a result of our long-term plan we have today one of the strongest major advanced economies in the world.
“We are well placed to face the challenges ahead.
“We have low stable inflation, the employment rate remains the highest it’s ever been, the budget deficit is down from 11% of national income forecast to be below 3% this year.”
The Prime Minister also insisted that the financial system is “substantially more resilient than it was six years ago”.