Sunday 24 September 2017

Scotland says No to independence

Scotland has rejected independence, despite the Yes campaign winning a majority in the largest city.

While Glasgow voted in favour of independence, the margin of victory was not large enough to give Alex Salmond and his campaign the momentum they need.

There were also wins for Yes in three of Scotland's 32 local authority areas - Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire.

While there was a comfortable majority in Dundee, the turnout in the city was 78.8% - lower than many other parts of Scotland, indicating that the Yes campaign has not managed to get voters out in sufficient numbers.

The turnout in Glasgow was even lower at 75%, with 194,779 Yes votes (53.49%) and 169,347 No votes (46.51%).

Read more here: Scottish National Party's Nicola Sturgeon concedes defeat

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond with a Yes supporter in Turriff during a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond with a Yes supporter in Turriff during a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom.
A man counts ballots at a counting centre in Aberdeen, Scotland

At the same time, nationalists conceded defeat in Alex Salmond's Aberdeenshire constituency.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said: ''At the end of the day, you always prefer to win but we always knew the size of the mountain we had to climb in Aberdeenshire.

''The challenge now bluntly, in Aberdeenshire and elsewhere, is for those who've won the referendum to deliver on the promises that they made to the people of Scotland."

Read more here: Alex Salmond concedes defeat in Scottish Independence Referendum  

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."

SNP leader Mr Salmond had been expected to make an appearance at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) but instead went directly to Edinburgh from his home in Strichen.

Sir Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon, said: ''The point about this area is that it's Alex Salmond's backyard and his basic proposition has been overwhelmingly rejected here in Aberdeenshire, which I think will have implications.''

Read more here: Yes & No campaigners react as count nears end - No vote is winning

Scotland is deciding on independence
Scotland is deciding on independence
A woman counts ballots at a counting centre in Aberdeen, Scotland, September 18, 2014.
Ballot boxes wait to be opened at a counting centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, September 18, 2014.
First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond in Newmachar, Scotland, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum.
A women wears stickers on her face on a "short walk to freedom" march in Edinburgh, Scotland September 18, 2014.
A worker carries ballot boxes inside a counting centre in Aberdeen, Scotland
Workers begin the counting process at a counting centre in Aberdeen, Scotland
Workers prepare to count ballots at a counting centre in Aberdeen, Scotland

On the First Minister's decision not to appear at the AECC count, Sir Malcolm said: ''He only likes to come for acclamation, he doesn't like to come and commiserate with his troops. I think good leaders should be with their troops whether they win or lose but he only wants to be the centre of attention.

''He was coming here until he got first indication that it wasn't going well and he immediately aborted it.''

As the early results came in, a senior member of the Westminster Government declared that he believed the United Kingdom was "safe".

Prime Minister David Cameron is due to make a live TV address to the nation from 10 Downing Street, which is expected to set out not only proposals to devolve more powers to the Scottish Parliament, but also significant changes to the constitutional settlement for other parts of the country.

Read our live blog: Live: Scotland decides

Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove, a close ally of the Prime Minister, indicated that this could involve reforms to ensure only English MPs can vote on English issues at Westminster.

Asked if he thought Scotland had voted to remain in the UK, Mr Gove told Sky News: "It does look as though - and I'm keeping every limb crossed - the United Kingdom will be safe."

Mr Gove said Mr Cameron was "anxious to ensure that, after this referendum campaign, we can bring the United Kingdom together".

A man touches the memorial of William Wallace, who led the Scottish rebellion against Edward I, in Smithfield, London September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
A man touches the memorial of William Wallace, who led the Scottish rebellion against Edward I, in Smithfield, London September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Labour leader Ed Miliband (centre) canvasses voters in the Knightswood area of Glasgow during a historic day for Scotland as voters determine whether the country should remain part of the United Kingdom. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Poll clerk George MacKay sits in the Coulags caravan polling station, in the Scottish Highlands September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
A voter arrives at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, as Scotland goes to the polls to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
A 'Yes' campaigner sits outside the Waternish polling station on the Isle of Skye September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

After joining Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to promise further devolution to Holyrood if Scots voted No, the Prime Minister is facing pressure from MPs south of the border for a similar extension of powers to the English regions, or even the creation of an English Parliament.

Mr Gove said Mr Cameron's statement would recognise "that Scotland needs enhanced devolution... (and that) it's also important to recognise that the rest of the United Kingdom needs to have its position enhanced as well, in Northern Ireland, in Wales and, of course, in England".

He added: "We need to look again at the arrangements which look after the people who live in the majority of the United Kingdom and I think the Prime Minister in particular will be spelling out some ways forward which will allow Westminster to change how it operates in order to ensure that the interests of English voters are effectively protected - indeed enhanced."

Read more here: David Cameron expected to announce reform plans in wake of Scottish vote

Blair McDougall, director of the Better Together campaign, said: "We think there will be a clear No vote tonight. I think the results we have seen now from places like Clackmannanshire - which is an SNP stronghold - are encouraging."

The historic referendum looked set to break records for turnout, with figures as high as 91% in East Dunbartonshire, 90.4% in East Renfrewshire and 90.1% in Stirling.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said whatever the result, politics in Scotland would not be the same: "The status quo has been thoroughly smashed."

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, one of the most senior Liberal Democrat ministers in the coalition Government, told Sky News: "It does look like we have secured a No vote and that is clearly very welcome.

"It is also important to say a No vote is a mandate for change in Scotland, it's a mandate for the strong proposals on more powers for the Scottish Parliament we have been setting out in this campaign."

Read more here: Harry Potter author JK Rowling 'proud' after No vote

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC: "I'm not going to concede anything when we have still got a number of results to declare."

Ms Sturgeon told STV: "I think there are very, very strong messages for the political class in Scotland and messages we need to heed.

"This campaign has been a joy to be part of, it's quite unlike anything I've ever been part of in my life before.

"If there is not a Yes vote tonight, I am deeply disappointed. As have thousands and thousands of others, I have given my heart and soul to this campaign but what has been amazing are the number of people who have never been involved in politics before, who have never campaigned as part of a political movement before, who have got involved.

"We must harness that, we must build on that. It's one aspect that leads me to say this country will never be the same.

"I'm disappointed if we don't come out of this evening with a Yes vote, I'm not trying to spin my way out of that... I'll be deeply disappointed personally as well as politically but I can't deny the fact I am also exhilarated by this campaign."

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