Boris Johnson, who spearheaded the successful campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, said Friday there was no need to rush the process of pulling out of the bloc.
"There is now no need for haste," Johnson told a London press conference in his first public comments since the results were announced.
He said the EU had been "a noble idea for its time" but was "no longer right for this country".
The former London mayor stressed that Britain would not "turn our backs on Europe" and that "our children and grandchildren will continue to have a wonderful future as Europeans."
There were chaotic scenes earlier when Johnson left his home in north London to booing and jeering from a large crowd of bystanders.
Protesters hurled abuse as police held them back to allow Johnson, a favourite to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron, to walk to a waiting car.
"You'll pay for it!" shouted one man in the crowd in the affluent, strongly pro-EU area.
Video posted on social media indicated that a group of cyclists surrounded the car carrying Johnson at a nearby traffic light, briefly blocking its progress.