Alex Salmond concedes defeat in Scottish Independence Referendum
Alex Salmond conceded defeat in his fight for Scottish independence, after Scots voted by a margin of around 55%-45% to stay part of the United Kingdom.
The Scottish National Party First Minister said he accepted "the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland" and called on the leaders of the three main pro-Union parties to live up to promises of further devolution they made during the referendum campaign.
Despite winning a majority of votes in some areas - including the nation's largest city Glasgow - the Yes campaign failed to secure enough support to win the historic referendum, failing to take key targets like Clackmannanshire and the Western Isles and falling well behind in the capital Edinburgh.
After a night of drama, the result became a mathematical certainty shortly after 6am, as the returning officer in Fife announced a comfortable majority for No in the county.
Mr Salmond's deputy Nicola Sturgeon had already conceded defeat with a handful of results still to be declared, telling the BBC she felt a "real sense of disappointment that we have fallen narrowly short of securing a Yes vote".
The First Minister - whose failure to attend his local count in Aberdeenshire led to early speculation that Yes Scotland was heading for defeat - accepted in a speech at 6.15am before a One Scotland banner in Edinburgh that the country did not want independence "at this stage".
He said: "It is 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.
"I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland."
In an early-morning phone call, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, the leader of the cross-party Better Together campaign, to congratulate him on "a well-fought campaign".
The PM is due to make a televised address to the nation this morning in which he is expected to set out plans for further devolution to Scotland as well as a "rebalancing" of the representation of the four nations of the UK.
Political sources say they do not expect Mr Salmond to step down from his position as leader of the SNP.