Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Britain’s Brexit Referendum: Key Players

The political friends and foes who have dominated Britain’s Brexit debate.

Should the U.K. stay in the European Union or go its own way? Voters are having their say in the most important referendum in modern British history. Polls close at 10 p.m. U.K. time on Thursday.

Here are the key players who have been fighting for Britain to either Leave or Remain. For more on Brexit, explore our full coverage.

David Cameron
Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader

david cameron
Photographer: Carl Court/Getty Images

Prime Minister David Cameron once sought to stop his Conservative party from "banging on about Europe." Continued displeasure toward the EU among his colleagues and surging immigration led him to renegotiate Britain's membership of the bloc and hold the referendum. Cameron has warned Brexit would "put a bomb under our economy."

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn in Doncaster on May 27, 2016.
Photographer: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Already struggling in the polls, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has been a low-profile campaigner for staying in. He voted to leave Europe in 1975's referendum and been accused of offering only lukewarm support now.

Michael Gove
Justice Secretary (Conservative)

Michael Gove, U.K. justice secretary, delivers a speech at the Vote Leave campaign offices in London, U.K., on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Justice Secretary Michael Gove, a Conservative cabinet member, broke with his close friend Cameron to endorse the Leave campaign. Gove has argued the U.K. would be "freer, fairer and better off outside the EU."

Boris Johnson
Former Mayor of London (Conservative)

Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, waves a Cornish Pasty during the first day of a nationwide bus tour to campaign for a so-called Brexit in Truro, U.K., on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. While online polls suggest the contest for the June 23 referendum is too close to call, less frequent telephone polling has put the "Remain" camp ahead. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Boris Johnson
Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, said he took an "agonising" decision over whether to back Brexit before doing so. He has argued Britain needs to regain sovereignty and control of its borders, arguing the country can prosper outside. Johnson drew headlines in the campaign for likening the EU to Nazi Germany.

George Osborne 
Chancellor of the Exchequer (Conservative)

Photographer: Daniel Leal-Olivas - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne has pursued fiscal austerity since entering office in 2010 and says the subsequent economic expansion is now at risk from what he calls a "DIY recession" that Brexit could cause.

Nicola Sturgeon
Scottish First Minister (Scottish National Party)

Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, advocates remaining in the EU. She might use a vote for Brexit as a reason to start a fresh push for Scottish independence after it was defeated in a 2014 referendum.

Mark Carney
Bank of England Governor

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney sought to avoid the politics of Brexit only to be dragged in and accused of undermining the central bank's independence. Carney warned a recession is possible and that the pound will fall if Brexit occurs.

Nigel Farage
U.K. Independence Party leader

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party, is the most vocal critic of what he calls the "euro project" and immigrants who are "coming here to take us over."

Angela Merkel
German Chancellor

Angela Merkel
Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most powerful leader in Europe, having run its biggest economy since 2005. Merkel has said she would "hope and wish for the U.K. to stay part and parcel of the EU."

Francois Hollande
French President

French President François Hollande
Photographer: Patrick Kovarik/AFP via Getty Images

Francois Hollande, president of France, faces his own challenges a year ahead of an election. The leader has said Brexit would be "bad news'' for the U.K. and Europe.

Jean-Claude Juncker
European Commission president

Photographer: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission and former prime minister of Luxembourg, has warned a "deserter would not be welcomed with open arms" should Brexit occur.

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