Scotland rejects independence in referendum
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond on Friday conceded defeat in his party’s campaign for independence from the rest of the UK, after all but one result from the historic referendum was declared.
“It’s important to say that our referendum was an agreed and consented process and Scotland has by a majority decided not, at this stage, to become an independent country,” he told a rally of cheering supporters in Edinburgh.
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday promised to grant new powers to all parts of the United Kingdom after separatists in Scotland won 1.5 million votes.
“Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs,” he said.
Cameron called for unity, saying that the argument had been settled “for a generation”.
“Now is the time for our United Kingdom to come together and to move forward,” Cameron said in a speech in front of his office at 10 Downing Street.
Jockey Carol Batley, representing the “No” vote, (right) and jockey Rachael Grant, representing the “Yes” vote, prepare to take part in a ‘Referendum Race’ sponsored by the bookmakers Ladbrokes at Musselburgh racecourse in Edinburgh, Scotland, on September 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO | LEON NEAL
The “No” camp was ahead by 55.42 per cent to 44.58 per cent for the “Yes” camp with 31 out of 32 local areas counted.
“No” campaigners across Scotland cheered as the results came in, while “Yes” activists watched dejected and in tears.
The outcome dashes the hopes of the hundreds of thousands of Scots who voted to break away on Thursday in an unprecedented vote that ignited debate about governance in Britain but will reassure those worried about the economic risks of a break-up.
The financial markets rewarded the result with the pound rising against the dollar on the currency markets.
According to AFP, the results indicated the turnout for Scotland’s historic independence referendum could be the highest ever in the United Kingdom.
Voting took place in 32 districts with turnout touching 90 per cent.
The historic decision gripped many Scots, who previously took little interest in politics, igniting passions and raising the prospect of deep changes to the governance of the union no matter the result.
A palace spokesman had told Sky news Queen Elizabeth II was following events from her family home Balmoral Castle in rural Scotland.
Many people in the rest of the United Kingdom were concerned about the prospect of Scottish independence, which would sever a deep bond and cut the UK’s surface area by a third.