Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland Rejects Independence From United Kingdom In Historic Referendum

Scotland has rejected independence, leaving the centuries-old United Kingdom intact but paving the way for a major transfer of powers away from London.

Despite a surge in nationalist support in the final fortnight of the campaign, the "No" has secured 55.30 per cent of the vote against 44.70 per cent for the pro-independence "Yes" camp.

After a campaign that fired up separatist movements around the world, turnout was 84.6 per cent, officials said on Friday - the highest ever for an election in Britain.

"No" campaigners across Scotland cheered and hugged as the results came in and British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "delighted", adding: "It would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end."

Many "Yes" activists watched dejected and in tears, although First Minister Alex Salmond urged them take heart from the huge numbers - 1.6 million - who backed independence.

"I don't think any of us, whenever we entered politics, would have thought such a thing to be either credible or possible," the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader told cheering supporters in Edinburgh.

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 per cent - 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 per cent, with 194,779 Yes votes (53.49 per cent) and 169,347 No votes (46.51 per cent).

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has conceded defeat in his party's campaign for independence but insists there is "substantial" support for breaking away from the United Kingdom.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader says he now expects the British parties to make good on promises to give the devolved government in Edinburgh more power.

"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," Salmond told a rally of cheering supporters in Edinburgh on Friday morning.

"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."

He also hinted that his battle to break from the United Kingdom was not over, highlighting the 1.54 million "Yes" votes - some 45 per cent of those who voted - which he said was a "substantial vote for Scottish independence".

"I don't think any of us, whenever we entered politics, would have thought such a thing to be either credible or possible," he said.

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.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has made 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.

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