SCOTTISH voters have rejected the opportunity to become an
independent nation: 55 per cent of them chose to remain within the
UK in the referendum yesterday.
The result became clear shortly after 6 a.m. today, as the
returning officer in Fife - the third largest electorate in
Scotland - announced that the No side had won there, meaning that
it was mathematically impossible for the Yes votes to win. The
final tally was: No - 2,001,926; Yes - 1,617,989. The turnout was
84.5 per cent.
Speaking after the result outside Downing Street, David Cameron
said that he was "delighted" at the result, but that it was now
time for the UK to "come together and move forward".
He went on: "The people of Scotland have spoken. It is a clear
result. They have kept our country of four nations together. I am a
passionate believer in our United Kingdom: I wanted more than
anything for our United Kingdom to stay together.
"But I am also a democrat. And it was right that we respected
the SNP's majority in Holyrood, and gave the Scottish people their
right to have their say. We now have a chance - a great opportunity
- to change the way the British people are governed, and change it
for the better."
He said that promises made during the campaign to devolve more
powers to the Scottish Parliament would be honoured in full. The
process will be led by Lord Smith of Kelvin, who chaired the
Glasgow Commonwealth Games organising committee.
The SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, had
said earlier that he accepted that the people of Scotland had made
their choice: "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 said that the referendum had engaged the electorate in
Scotland as never before, culminating in the unusually high
turnout. "Whatever else we can say about this referendum campaign,
we have touched sections of the community who have never before
been touched by politics; these sections of the community have
touched us, and touched the political process."
Mr Cameron said that further devolution to Scotland would have
to be coupled with more powers being handed to Wales, Northern
Ireland, and England. These calls were echoed by the leader of the
House of Commons, William Hague, and the leader of UKIP, Nigel
"The question of English votes for English laws, the so-called
West Lothian question, requires a decisive answer," Mr Cameron
said. "So just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish
Parliament on their issues on tax, spending, and welfare, so, too,
England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to
vote on these issues."
The result of the referendum unfolded through the early hours of
the morning. Clackmannanshire was the first area to declare a
result - a 53 per cent win for the No vote. It gradually became
clear that the Nos were in the lead across Scotland, and the
anti-independence campaign won strongly in places such as Dumfries
and Galloway, East Lothian, and Aberdeen. In Edinburgh, 61 per cent
of voters chose No.
There was a majority for Yes in four local-authority areas,
including the country's largest city, Glasgow, where 53 per cent of
the electorate opted for independence. The strongest vote against
independence came in the Orkney Islands - only 33 per cent of those
who cast a ballot did so for Yes.