Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

Scotland says No to independence: Alex Salmond's dream is over as final results in referendum mean nation will remain in UK

BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD IN EDINBURGH

Published 19/09/2014

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond during a press conference at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh after the countru vote No. Pic Danny Lawson/PA Wire
First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond during a press conference at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh after the countru vote No. Pic Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond holds the agreement between the UK Government and the Scottish Government to hold a referendum on independence for Scotland
Better Together campaigners celebrate early poll results at a party on September 19, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
People view results in Scottish Independence Referendum placed on a wall at the Ingleston Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh,Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Tellers struggle with tiredness during the count for votes in the Scottish Independence Referendum at Ingleston Hall on September 19, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Supporters at a "Yes" rally in George Square react on September 19, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Supporters at a "Yes" rally in George Square react on September 19, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Supporters at a "Yes" rally in George Square react on September 19, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Supporters at a "Yes" rally in George Square react on September 19, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Better Together campaigners celebrate early poll results at a party on September 19, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Supporters attend the Better Together Referendum Night event wait for the results to come in on September 19, 2014 at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
"Yes" Supporters burn flares as they react to the polls closing in George Square as Scotland awaits the results of the Scottish Independence referendum vote on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Supporters at a "Yes" rally in George Square react on September 19, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Tellers count votes in the Scottish Independence Referendum at the Edinburgh count at Ingleston Hall on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A supporter dressed as Scottish cult TV character Rab C Nesbett plays to the crowd at a "Yes" rally in George Square on September 19, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
People wait for the result outside the Scottish Parliament as voting in the referendum closes on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Ballot boxes for the Scottish Independence Referendum arrive at the Edinburgh count at Ingleston Hall on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
People wait for the result outside the Scottish Parliament as voting in the referendum closes on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Ballot boxes arrive at the Scottish Independence Referendum at the Edinburgh count at Ingleston Hall on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Two young girls join the crowds waiting for a result outside the Scottish Parliament as voting in the referendum continues on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People wait for a result outside the Scottish Parliament as voting in the referendum continues on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People wait for a result outside the Scottish Parliament as voting in the referendum continues on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A young girl has her photograph taken as people wait for a result outside the Scottish Parliament as voting in the referendum continues on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Former Gordon Highlander, Jock Robertson, aged 81, who said 'I have waited all my life for this vote' pauses at Peebles polling station after voting in the Scottish referendum on September 18, 2014 in Peebles, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
People wait for a result outside the Scottish Parliament as voting in the referendum continues on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People wait for a result outside the Scottish Parliament as voting in the referendum continues on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Royalist John Loughrey (L) from England poses for a photograph outside Lothian Chambers in central Edinburgh as millions vote in the Scottish referendum. Pic Matt Cardy/Getty Images
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Felipe Perez walks out of polling station at Notre Dame primary school with a Saltire flag, on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a 'Yes' vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond outside his home in Strichen during a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Newspaper flyers pose the 'Yes or No' question during the Scottish referendum on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a 'Yes' vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
LONDON, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: (EDITORS NOTE: THIS IS A PHOTO ILLUSTRATION) A selection of the British National Newspaper front pages are displayed on September 18, 2014 in London, England. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Members of the public walk out of a polling station at Notre Dame primary school following casting their vote in the Scottish independence referendum on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Members of the public walk out of a polling station at Notre Dame primary school following casting their vote in the Scottish independence referendum on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Felipe Perez walks out of polling station at Notre Dame primary school with a Saltire flag, on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a 'Yes' vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: A dog is tied to a railing outside a polling station at Notre Dame primary school on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Political graffiti is seen close to Lothian Chambers polling station in central Edinburgh on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Sara Tardio, Marc Arranz, Marc Teixidor and Clara de Pablo from Catalonia pose for a photograph as they show their support for the Yes vote in central Edinburgh on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: (L-R) Angela Simpson, Niamh Cupples, Ava Cupples (buggy), Linda Cupples and Calum Cupples leave St Bartholomew's Primary School in Castlemilk after casting their vote as the people of Scotland take to the poles to decide their country's fate in a historic vote on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: "Yes" Campaigner Paula Fummey talk to a voter at St Bartholomew's Primary School in Castlemilk as the people of Scotland take to the poles to decide their country's fate in a historic vote on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: "Yes" activists campaigning in Castlemilk today as the people of Scotland take to the poles to decide their country's fate in a historic vote on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a 'Yes' vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union.(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
ELLON, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: First Minister Alex Salmond (R) relaxes with an aide on referendum day on September 18, 2014 in Ellon, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a 'Yes' vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
ELLON, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: First Minister Alex Salmond relaxes with a cup of tea at a hotel during a break on referendum day on September 18, 2014 in Ellon, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a 'Yes' vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: A Yes sticker is seen on the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: James Fraser holds up his voting card having just voted at Lothian Chambers polling station in central Edinburgh on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: James Fraser leaves Lothian Chambers polling station having just voted in central Edinburgh on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
TURRIFF, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: First Minister Alex Salmond walks to meet with supporters on September 18, 2014 in Turriff, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
TURRIFF, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: German Short Haired Pointer dogs Dude (L) and Hector wait to meet First Minister Alex Salmond on September 18, 2014 in Turriff, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
TURRIFF, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: German Short Haired Pointer dogs Dude (L) and Hector wait to meet First Minister Alex Salmond on September 18, 2014 in Turriff, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Yes and No supporters react to motorists passing the Church Hill Theatre polling place in Morningside on September 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a 'Yes' vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
German Short Haired Pointer dogs Dude and Hector (R) meet First Minister Alex Salmond on September 18, 2014 in Turriff, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country.
Voters at Notre Dame Primary School polling station on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country.
Painters paint over Yes graffiti at Jamestown Parish Church Lennox Hall on September 18, 2014 in Jamestown, Scotland.
Voters leave Gretna polling station after voting on September 18, 2014 in Gretna, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a 'Yes' vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Voters at Notre Dame Primary School polling station on September 18, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. After many months of campaigning the people of Scotland today head to the polls to decide the fate of their country. The referendum is too close to call but a Yes vote would see the break-up of the United Kingdom and Scotland would stand as an independent country for the first time since the formation of the Union. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
A re-interpretation and re-design of the Union Flag flying on Lonsdale Road, north London on the day of the Scottish independence referendum as part of the London Design Festival.
Yes voter Duncan Thomson waits for the doors to open at St Martins Church hall polling station, as the people of Scotland take to the poles to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country, on September 18, 2014 in Renton, Scotland. After many months of campaigning, final opinion poles show the referendum result is still too close to call. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
A young voter at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday September 18, 2014. See PA story REFERENDUM Main. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
A young voter at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum.
Millions will go to the polls on Thursday to decide Yes or No to Scottish independence (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LOCH LOMOND, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Duncan Thomson, Brian McCutcheon, John Patterson and Arthur Murdoch,from King of Scots Robert the Bruce Society, hold the Scottish flags as they prepare to vote in the Scottish independence referendum on September 14, 2014 in Loch Lomond. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling during a campaign event at Clydebank Town Hall in Scotland as the campaign ahead of the Scottish independence referendum enters its final days. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 16, 2014. See PA story REFERENDUM Main. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
A Saltire with Yes printed on it in Dunbar, Scotland, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown leaves a campaign event at Clydebank Town Hall in Scotland as the campaign ahead of the Scottish independence referendum enters its final days.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon watching apprentice Craig McKee manufacturing a steel 'Yes' sign at Steel Engineering in Renfrew, Scotland ahead of the Scottish independence referendum on Thursday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 16, 2014.
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Volunteers from the Yes campaign speak with a voters in the Pilton area of Edinburgh on September 16, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an independent country. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Volunteers from the Yes campaign prepare to go and canvass in the Pilton area of Edinburgh on September 16, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an independent country. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Yes posters are seen in windows in a block of flats in Edinburgh on September 16, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an independent country. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
RENFREW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: A general view as Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, meets with care workers at Renfrew Town hall on September 16, 2014 in Renfrew, Scotland. With just two days of campaigning left before polling stations open and voters across the country will hold Scotlands future in their hands. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown (R) appears with campaign leader Alistair Darling at a rally of No supporters at Dumbarton Town Hall on September 16, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an indpendent country. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown pauses as he speaks at Dumbarton Town hall to No campaigners on September 16, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an indpendent country. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks at Dumbarton Town hall to No campaigners on September 16, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an indpendent country. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
RENFREW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets with campaigners at Renfrew Town hall on September 16, 2014 in Renfrew, Scotland. With just two days of campaigning left before polling stations open and voters across the country will hold Scotlands future in their hands. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
RENFREW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets with campaigners at Renfrew Town hall on September 16, 2014 in Renfrew, Scotland. With just two days of campaigning left before polling stations open and voters across the country will hold Scotlands future in their hands. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
RENFREW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meets with campaigners at Renfrew Town hall on September 16, 2014 in Renfrew, Scotland. With just two days of campaigning left before polling stations open and voters across the country will hold Scotlands future in their hands. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
RENFREW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, eats a yes cake during a vist to meet with care workers at Renfrew Town hall on September 16, 2014 in Renfrew, Scotland. With just two days of campaigning left before polling stations open and voters across the country will hold Scotlands future in their hands. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrives at Dumbarton Town hall to speak to No campaigners on September 16, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an indpendent country. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
RENFREW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney, look on as 19 year old apprentice fabricator Craig McKee angle grinds a yes sign during their visit to Steel Engineering on September 16, 2014 in Renfrew, Scotland. With just two days of campaigning left before polling stations open and voters across the country will hold Scotlands future in their hands. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
RENFREW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney, look on as 19 year old apprentice fabricator Craig McKee holds a yes sign during their visit to Steel Engineering on September 16, 2014 in Renfrew, Scotland. With just two days of campaigning left before polling stations open and voters across the country will hold Scotlands future in their hands. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Volunteers for the Better Together campaign have a meeting before leaving to canvass from their Edinburgh office on September 15, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the campaigning for the independence referendum entering into the final few days, the latest opinion polls have suggested the outcome of the vote is still too close to call. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: People pass the Better Together Edinburgh office on September 15, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the campaigning for the independence referendum entering into the final few days, the latest opinion polls have suggested the outcome of the vote is still too close to call. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Alistair Darling leader of the Better Together and Margaret Curran meets with members of the public during a walk about on September 15, 2014 in Kilmarnock, Scotland. With just three days of campaigning left, First Minister Alex Salmond is meeting business people in Edinburgh and Prime Minister David Cameron is due to visit Scotland today ahead of Thursday's independence vote. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Prime Minister David Cameron addresses members of the No campaign on September 15, 2014 in Aberdeen,Scotland. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: No supporters join, Alistair Darling leader of the Better Together meets with members of the public during a walk about on September 15, 2014 in Kilmarnock, Scotland. With just three days of campaigning left, First Minister Alex Salmond is meeting business people in Edinburgh and Prime Minister David Cameron is due to visit Scotland today ahead of Thursday's independence vote. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Yes and No supporters exchange words during, as Alistair Darling leader of the Better Together meets with members of the public during a walk about on September 15, 2014 in Kilmarnock, Scotland. With just three days of campaigning left, First Minister Alex Salmond is meeting business people in Edinburgh and Prime Minister David Cameron is due to visit Scotland today ahead of Thursday's independence vote.. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: First Minister Alex Salmond speaks with the media at Edinburgh International Airport following a photocall in the arrival's hall on September 15, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the campaigning for the independence referendum entering into the final few days, the latest opinion polls have suggested the outcome of the vote is still too close to call. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: First Minister Alex Salmond leaves Edinburgh International Airport following a photocall in the arrival's hall on September 15, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the campaigning for the independence referendum entering into the final few days, the latest opinion polls have suggested the outcome of the vote is still too close to call. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: First Minister Alex Salmond leaves Edinburgh International Airport following a photocall in the arrival's hall on September 15, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the campaigning for the independence referendum entering into the final few days, the latest opinion polls have suggested the outcome of the vote is still too close to call. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: A yes campaigner stands by his branded van on September 15, 2014 in Aberdeen,Scotland. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: BBC TV political editor Nick Robinson (R) interviews a No campaigner near Union Street on September 15, 2014 in Aberdeen,Scotland. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: A yes campaigner passes a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) on September 15, 2014 in Aberdeen,Scotland. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: A yes campaigners daughter gets caught up in a Saltire flag on September 15, 2014 in Aberdeen,Scotland. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: First Minister Alex Salmond arrives at Edinburgh Airport for a photocall on September 15, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the campaigning for the independence referendum entering into the final few days, the latest opinion polls have suggested the outcome of the vote is still too close to call. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Tariq Ali, addresses radical independence supporters, calling for a resounding Yes vote on September 15, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. With just three days of campaigning left, First Minister Alex Salmond is meeting business people in Edinburgh and Prime Minister David Cameron is due to visit Scotland today ahead of Thursday's independence vote. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: People listen as Sir Bob Geldof speaks to members of the public and supporters of the 'Better Together' campaign from a raised stage in Trafalgar Square on September 15, 2014 in London, England. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: People wave flags as Sir Bob Geldof speaks to members of the public and supporters of the 'Better Together' campaign from a raised stage in Trafalgar Square on September 15, 2014 in London, England. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Sir Bob Geldof speaks to members of the public and supporters of the 'Better Together' campaign from a raised stage in Trafalgar Square on September 15, 2014 in London, England. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: People wave flags as Sir Bob Geldof speaks to members of the public and supporters of the 'Better Together' campaign from a raised stage in Trafalgar Square on September 15, 2014 in London, England. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Scotland’s voters have delivered their verdict – leaving Alex Salmond’s lifelong dream of an independent country in ruins and sparking a political earthquake which looks set to reverberate across the UK.

After a night of high political drama which saw the Scots decisively reject the chance of separation, the focus has shifted to London following a pledge from the Prime Minister to devolve more powers from Westminster.

David Cameron said he was “delighted” by the outcome, which saw independence rejected by 55% to 45% - a far bigger margin than most polls predicted.

In a dawn address to the nation from Downing Street, the PM pledged a rebalancing of political power across the UK.

Mr Cameron said Northern Ireland and Wales would enjoy the same responsibility being devolved to Scotland.

“Just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with and at the same pace as the settlement for Scotland,” he said.

One of the most remarkable battles in UK political history ended at 8.30am this morning when the final result was declared from the national count centre at Ingliston.

However, Salmond had already conceded defeat two hours earlier during an appearance in Edinburgh.

The Scottish First Minister said he accepted the country had decided “at this stage” not to go independent.

In a rallying cry to his supporters, Salmond urged the Yes voters to reflect on how far they had come.

“Today of all days as we bring Scotland together, let us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short,” he said.

“Let us dwell on the distance we have travelled and have confidence the movement is abroad in Scotland that will take this nation forward and we shall go forward as one nation.”

However, the result is a devastating setback for a man whose political career has been built on the promise of delivering an independent Scotland.

Salmond saw his crusade for separation crushed by a 10-point margin.

Today he said: “I accept the verdict of the Scottish people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit and accept the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland.”

As a dramatic night unfolded across Scotland:

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond in Inverurie, Scotland, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum
First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond in Inverurie, Scotland, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum

- The separatist campaigners were roundly defeated, with the No side racking up 2,001,924 votes with Yes on 1,616,989.

- The No side claimed substantial victories in Edinburgh, Stirling, and Aberdeen;

- However, the Yes campaign posted a hugely significant win in Glasgow, following earlier triumphs in Dundee and West Dunbartonshire;

- Speculation grew over Salmond’s future with the SNP leader set to face calls for his resignation;

- Police were on high alert for protests as the voters’ final verdict was delivered.

Although Glasgow voted for independence, a series of major targets – including Salmond’s own Aberdeenshire heartland – voted No.

The SNP leader shunned the cameras as he boarded a private jet out of Aberdeen to Edinburgh, where he addressed a Yes rally.

His deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, was left to front up to the cameras.

She told the BBC the result was "a deep personal and political disappointment" but said “the country has been changed forever".

Ms Sturgeon said she would work with "anyone in any way" to secure more powers for Scotland.

As the scale of the loss became clear, Salmond was facing calls to resign.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson tweeted: “Delighted Scotland has voted to remain in the Union. We are better together.”

Better Together leader Alistair Darling today said he was humbled by the level of support for the United Kingdom.

Mr Darling hailed an “extraordinary night” in which Scotland voted to maintain the 307-year-old union.

A long night started when polls closed and counting got underway at 10pm.

Former Gordon Highlander, Jock Robertson, aged 81, who said 'I have waited all my life for this vote' pauses at Peebles polling station after voting in the Scottish referendum on September 18, 2014 in Peebles, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Former Gordon Highlander, Jock Robertson, aged 81, who said 'I have waited all my life for this vote' pauses at Peebles polling station after voting in the Scottish referendum on September 18, 2014 in Peebles, Scotland. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

The No campaign drew first blood when the opening result was declared shortly before 1.30am this morning.

Clackmannanshire opted to keep Scotland part of the UK with 54% voting against separation.

It mirrored an earlier poll which suggested the Scots had voted to maintain the union.

The YouGov survey, released at 10.30pm – half an hour after polls closed last night – was calling victory for the No side by 54% to 46%.

As the night progressed a wave of victories followed for the anti-independence campaign.

The Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland and Midlothian all rejected independence, as did local authorities including Stirling, Falkirk, East Lothian, Angus, Dumfries and Galloway, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire.

However, Glasgow – Scotland's largest council area and the third largest city in Britain – voted in favour of independence by 194,779 to 169,347.

Yesterday’s referendum was the biggest exercise of the franchise in the country’s history.

Scottish voters were asked to vote Yes or No to the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

After a tense campaign which has reached boiling point in recent days, police in Scotland were today on high alert for a backlash from pro-independence campaigners.

There had been isolated reports of intimidation and violence at some polling stations yesterday.

Marie Rimmer, who served on St Helens council in Merseyside for over three decades, was arrested and charged with assault as she campaigned in Glasgow.

At one polling station in Balloch, at the foot of Loch Lomond, a threat - Vote Yes or else – was scrawled across the walls.

In Glasgow it emerged police were investigating allegations of fraud.

Glasgow City Council official Colin Edgar told STV that officials had discovered a small number of examples where “someone has turned up at the polling station, and when they identified themselves to the presiding officer they appeared to have voted already”.

Mr Edgar said police had been notified because of the risk of electoral fraud.

Resounding No in Salmond's backyard

By Catriona Webster and Paul Ward

Voters in First Minister Alex Salmond's own constituency of Aberdeenshire resoundingly rejected independence.

With a turnout of 87.2%, there were 108,606 votes cast for No (60.3%) compared with 71,337 for Yes (39.6%).

Politicians from the three main pro-union parties said they were delighted with the result in the north east.

Sir Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon, said: "It's a terrific result and I think it's a complete rejection of Alex Salmond and the SNP's Yes message, which in my view is totally irresponsible and I think people have rejected it for that reason.

"I think it's an assertion that we are better together, that people do recognise that we have a Parliament which gives us self-government over much of what we can do and we can do more, but at the same time being part of the UK is a huge advantage."

Mr Salmond had been expected to make an appearance at the count at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre but did not arrive.

Sir Malcolm said: "This is the SNP's backyard, it's Alex Salmond's backyard. He didn't have the guts to come to his own count in his own area because he knew he had been comprehensively rejected."

Alex Johnstone, Conservative MSP for North East Scotland, said: "I'm delighted at the figures.

"The key thing is that we here in Aberdeenshire, along with so many other areas up and down Scotland, have given a resounding vote of confidence in the union and we can go forward now and continue to enjoy the benefits of this economic recovery that the United Kingdom is now leading the world in.

"We will deliver on the promise of more powers. However, you must realise that one of the key things that needs to be delivered to the Scottish Parliament is responsibility for its own decisions.

"This will not be an easy path towards more powers without responsibility. This will be about the maturing of the Scottish Parliament into a body which really does take responsibility for its own actions. It hasn't been that in the first 15 years, it must be that in future."

Lewis Macdonald, Labour MSP for North East Scotland, said: "It's a fantastic result and a fantastic credit to the Better Together team and the parties that have worked together to get that result and a reflection of how north east folk are clear that Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are better off in a Scotland that's in the union than a Scotland that heads off on its own.

"I think that takes for good the question of Scottish independence off the political agenda. That means that all parties are going to have to come together around a programme of self-government within the union and the kind of changes that we want to make Scotland the kind of country we want to see."

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banff and Buchan, said the result was "not unexpected".

He said: "It's clear that across Scotland there's a very tight correlation between the votes for No and the economic income and in areas that are not doing so well, they've been voting for Yes.

"We always knew that Aberdeenshire would be a big challenge, but the challenge now is for the No campaign to deliver on the big promises that the three UK party leaders made.

"We shall be watching that with interest, and when I say we, I mean the people of Scotland who have got themselves re-engaged with politics."

Eilidh Whiteford, SNP MP for Banff & Buchan, said: "Expectations in Aberdeenshire were never going to be that stellar. We always realised that if you win Aberdeenshire, you're going to win everywhere."

Scottish Independence Vote further reading

Publicans really nail their colours to the mast 

Battle between Yes and No takes a bitter twist in final hours of campaigning

No camp drowned out by noisy, flamboyant and abrasive rivals who sense historic win 

Break-up of the Union could hit Northern Ireland, warn business chiefs

Ties that bind Northern Ireland and Scotland go way back and will survive the referendum  

From oil and the pound to the Queen and tax - everything you need to know about the referendum

Independence: What's the next step for Scotland and how will Northern Ireland people living there vote?

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