Scottish independence: One million Scots urged to sign 'yes' declaration


Supporters launch the 'Yes' campaign for Scottish independence

The "yes" campaign for independence wants one million Scots to sign a declaration of support by the time of the referendum in the autumn of 2014.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said independence would happen if that milestone was achieved.

The pledge was made at the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign in Edinburgh.

However, pro-union supporters believe independence remains largely unpopular among the Scottish electorate and will not happen.

The Scottish National Party played a leading role in the campaign, which was launched at Cineworld in Edinburgh and included other parties, celebrities and businesses.

What does the Yes Declaration say?

"I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all if decisions about Scotland's future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.

"Being independent means Scotland's future will be in Scotland's hands.

"There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.

"I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world - a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation."

A pro-union campaign is expected to launch later this year.

Mr Salmond said: "We unite behind a declaration of self-evident truth.

"The people who live in Scotland are best placed to make the decisions that affect Scotland.

"We want a Scotland that's greener, that's fairer and more prosperous.

"We realise that the power of an independent Scotland is necessary to achieve these great ends."

Some of the people who pledged their public support for the campaign did so for the first time.

Actor Alan Cumming, who has been based largely in the US, tweeted after the launch that he would "becoming a resident of Scotland again in order to vote in 2014".

Other "yes" backers included:

  • actor Sir Sean Connery
  • former BBC Scotland head of news Blair Jenkins
  • poet Liz Lochead
  • musician Pat Kane
  • actor Brian Cox.

Mr Salmond told the gathered media: "I want Scotland to be independent not because I think we are better than any other country, but because I know we're as good as any other country.

Start Quote

It was left to Liz Lochhead, Scotland's Makar, to recall from one of her finest plays that the Scots national pastime is frequently "nostalgia"”

End Quote

"Like these other nations, our future, our resources, our success should be in our own hands."

The campaign will be built "brick by brick" across communities, he said.

Mr Salmond said that the case would be taken to the people by community activism and "online wizardry".

He added: "By the time we enter the referendum campaign in autumn 2014, our intention is to have one million Scots who have signed the independence for Scotland declaration.

"Friends, if we achieve that, then we shall win an independent Scotland."

Mr Salmond was supported at the launch, which was hosted by Greenock actor Martin Compston, by Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie.

He told the 500-strong gathering: "Greens are not nationalists. In fact, we are probably more comfortable than most parties in acknowledging the range of views that exist in our membership and our voters about the question of independence.

"But I believe, as most of us do, that the range of powers currently still held at Westminster simply make no sense from a Green perspective.

What's known at the moment

SNP position Unionist position

Wants the referendum in the autumn of 2014

Wants the referendum "sooner rather than later"

Backs a "yes/no" ballot but is open minded on including a second "devo max" question

Wants a one question "yes/no" ballot

Wants 16 and 17-year-olds to be able to vote in the referendum

Backs the status quo with 18 and over able to vote

Has agreed to the Electoral Commission overseeing the vote

Wanted the Electoral Commission to oversee the vote

"I certainly look forward to helping develop a clear and compelling case for Scotland to take a bold and radical step and vote Yes to independence in 2014."

SNP ministers, who want to hold a referendum in autumn 2014, have been holding talks with the UK government over the arrangements.

Yes Scotland, which has also won the support of the Scottish Socialist Party, is being billed as the biggest community based campaign in Scotland's history, designed to build a groundswell of support for an independent Scotland.

Meanwhile, former chancellor Alistair Darling, a Scottish Labour MP, pointed to a poll he had commissioned which suggested that 33% of those surveyed agreed that Scotland should become independent with 57% opposed and 10% undecided. The poll by YouGov took the views of 1,000 voters.

After the Yes Scotland launch, Mr Darling told the BBC: "The real problem that the nationalists have got is that their momentum has stalled and we can see from the poll that only one person in three has actually bought their message.

"I believe that people will come to see that we are better and stronger with the UK."

"I think that there are an awful lot of risks in simply walking away from the UK."

Mr Darling has been involved in meetings with Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to take forward the plans for a pro-union campaign which is expected to launch later this year.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1719.

    I believe that more people have left Scotland since the end of the world war 2 than currently live in it. Scotland is one of the few countries in Europe not have seen a substantial increase in population since 1945.
    Since the middle of the18th century Scotland’s population has gone from 1.25 million to 5 million today and England’s from 5.5 to 55 million.
    Why the relative difference?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1718.

    In response to:
    "1687. JensonMcLewis, when do the English get to vote for (or against) dissolution of the Union? "

    When you vote for a party that will allow you such a vote. If no suitable party exists, start one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1717.

    The Union has been a great thing, why ruin it for the greed and vainity of a few politicians.
    Although i find it quite funny that, the Shetlands and the Isles of Skye have already said they would choose to remain part of the Union, not part of an independant Scotland (oh bugger, there goes the oil money Mr Salmond)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1716.

    @Craig Actually Her Majesty's Treasury (British Treasury) in London decides who can and can't have the pound, "Well we used it before" doesn't hold up in International Law, Not to worry property will be devalued when you're converted to the dying Euro

  • rate this

    Comment number 1715.

    As an Englishman I believe that the UK remaining united WAS the best way forward, however as it currently stands I wish that I could vote for Scottish independence. Currently the Scottish (and Welsh) have a disproportionate influence on England with then having their own assemblies and still voting on English matters.

    (We need more than 400 characters to express a meaningful argument)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1714.

    1698.The Dude abides
    "How will England ... meet it's energy requirements "

    Probably continue to import energy from France, Wales & Scotland as it currently does. Shortfall is only 4% when I check 6 months ago, but you present the point I do - the infrastructure of the UK/GB evolved as a whole so its breakup will have unforeseen effects.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1713.

    Let the Scots be Independent if they so wish but what to do if the turn out is 30%? Will they rerun the vote? This referendum needs to be properly set up and run and most importantly taken out of the hands of politicians!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1712.

    I want to know why after not seeing Benefit Betty smile for 59 years, she's suddenly being portrayed on the BBC as always doing so ?

    Propoganda ?

    Maybe she's thinking about how much money her ancestors made from the people of Scotland ?

    Not anymore, my dear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1711.

    England expresses an accelerating right wing agenda, allowing the rich to buy better health, education, and access to the law..... The English put up with it, but then they effectively voted for it, which is my point really.
    This type of action is exactly why Scotland may exit. Some accuse 'yes' voters of being crudely nationalistic, but only independence can keep right wing poison at bay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1710.

    Would be sorry to see our Scottish friends leave the Union for effectively the ego of a few Scottish politicians. If they do go, then they must take on their share of the national debt, create their own currency (or use the Euro), not expect to use English services (armed, health, civil etc), and above all, promise not to come back to England for a hand out if / when their economy collapses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1709.

    England will be much better off without Scotland. Time to get rid of the Welsh and Irish too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1708.

    The Scots can have independence, but they will have to use their own currency and all debt will be split (including the Scottish Banks that caused nearly all the problems).

    If they want to join the EU they will have to adopt the Euro, good luck with that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1707.


    I am however getting weary of subsidising Scotland, Wales and Ireland

    Strange this. Day after day after day I hear, on the news, things that England gets or will get (and the other countries do not or will not). I presume the taxes of the Scots, Welsh and Irish also pay for these?

    Or is it that the BBC only report English issues?

  • Comment number 1706.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1705.

    The Tories will create independence, it's a terrible but inevitable situation. They seem so stubborn about taking the advice of the IMF, Europe, USA, and all the independent advisors that their austerity plan isn't and was never going to work - yet they keep going with it....

    It will cripple England, it's time many of us leave I think....

  • rate this

    Comment number 1704.

    HELEN-of-TROY @ 1693

    Bit of a mud slinger yourself, Chill out or you may bust a blood vessel!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1703.

    1666. Steve Taylor
    1661 Shift That Pardigm

    I'm sure Cornwall will love trident and all the jobs that go with it.
    We'll see.

    My money is on common sense which is conspicuous by its absence in the 'Trident' project but prominent throughout Cornwall in such matters.

    I think you'll need far more than mere money to inflict that obscene weapon of mass destruction upon Cornwall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1702.

    1676 danceswithhaggis
    On 10% basis (population %) you would also have pay out 13.75bil for Pensions, 4.5bil for defence and 11bil for welfare. All currently paid by the UK government not the Scottish.Lets not forget the 225bil exposure to pfi so your chunk is 22.5bil and 1bil or so to the EU.
    1692 Craig
    have seen u what has happened to Greece when they have a currency they have no control over?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1701.

    1682.DickieT "In the fleet of nations, Scotland is a pocket - battleship: Internationally we make our mark: in victory, we are the greatest! In defeat we know how to celebrate: In attitude only look back to go forward: In essence, Scots are trustworthy, inventive, co-operative, organised and hardy."

  • rate this

    Comment number 1700.

    Time now for Scots to 'seize the day'; to stand or fall by our own efforts. Historically independent in the past; we can find our own place in the world again. If we are successful, we will be free to pat ourselves on the back; if we fail, we cannot then turn to blame: 'the English', 'Westminster' (of whichever political hue), or anyone else south of the border - 'Independence Not Dependence'.


Page 1 of 86


More Scotland politics stories


Scotland Decides: SCOTLAND VOTES NO

  1. No 2,001,926
  2. Yes 1,617,989
After 32 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

    19:33: Dundee rally

    "Yes" campaigners in Dundee held a final rally today in the city. Dundee voted "Yes" to independence in yesterday's referendum, by the highest margin of any local authority in Scotland.

    Yes rally in Dundee
    19:33: More on George Square

    A Police Scotland spokeswoman has said that there are approximately 100 people from each side in George Square in Glasgow.

    There has been some minor disorder which has been dealt with quickly, with no arrests.

    The square is closed to traffic with local diversions in place.

    19:23: George Square latest Cameron Buttle BBC Scotland

    It is very tense in the square. It has calmed down a bit but is still very tense.

    Both sides have been throwing things, the police are in the middle trying to keep both sides apart.

    One side is singing Flower of Scotland and the other is singing Rule Britannia.

    19:22: Telegraph 'barred'

    The Telegraph has published a video on their website which allegedly shows their reporter Ben Riley-Smith being "barred" from entering Alex Salmond's resignation press conference.

    @BBCScotlandnews 19:06: Your views

    @s_ditchfield tweets: Glasgow feels very different tonight to the Glasgow of few months ago at commonwealth games #Glasgow2014 #whatashame

    19:05: 'Extremely disappointing'

    Speaking on the George Square trouble, Lib Dem MP Sir Menzies Campbell said: "For people like me who are committed to the democratic process and who have valued the way in which this campaign has been conducted until now, it is extremely disappointing.

    "I hope that police will be able to make calm heads prevail and people will go home. The best possible thing would be a heavy shower in George Square. That is often a way of dispersing people who are ready to make trouble."

    19:04: Weirs 'saddened' at Salmond resignation

    Chris and Colin Weir, the multi-millionaire lottery winners who helped bankroll the "Yes" campaign, said: "Whilst saddened at his decision, Alex Salmond has nothing to reproach himself for.


    "He has energised our nation, not just in this campaign, but in all his years of service to Scotland. He has articulated the aspirations of a nation not just as a party leader but as Scotland's most successful first minister ever.

    "We wish him well and thank him for his part in making Scotland the confident, forward looking country it is today."

    @BBCScotlandnews 19:01: Get involved

    @ScottWWright tweets: Horrible atmosphere building in Glasgow city centre as hardline side of Union "celebrates". Why oh why must it be like this? #infyref

    18:59: Leaders condemn scenes

    The leaders of Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives have condemned the scenes in Glasgow's George Square.

    Speaking to the BBC's Reporting Scotland, Ms Lamont said she hoped order was restored "as soon as possible" while Ms Davidson said: "We don't want to be seeing scenes like that on our streets."

    18:59: Glasgow votes 'Yes'

    Yes campaigners and Loyalists who supported the Union have gathered in opposing protests in George Square in Glasgow, and it's fair to say the atmosphere is tense.

    Glasgow was one of four local authorities in Scotland to vote in favour of independence in yesterday's referendum.

    The others were Dundee, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.

    18:55: Salmond tweet

    First Minister Alex Salmond tweets: Heading home to Strichen. With love and thanks from Moira and I for all your kind messages of support.

    Alex and Moira Salmond
    18:52: Salmond's second resignation

    This is the second time First Minister Alex Salmond has decided to stand down as SNP leader.

    Alex Salmond

    He first won the leadership of the party in 1990 before stepping down in 2000. Scotland's now Finance Minister John Swinney then took charge before Mr Salmond assumed office again in 2004.

    18:51: More on George Square Cameron Buttle BBC Scotland

    The Loyalists have signs saying "Scotland is British". I see a flag that says Springburn/Derry Union up on the railings.

    Another flag says "Scotland is British, No surrender". There is lots of shouting of "this is our country".

    18:50: Swinney 'respects' Salmond decision

    Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney tells the BBC's Reporting Scotland that he respects Alex Salmond's decision to stand down.

    He repeats Mr Salmond's view that the referendum is a "once in a generation opportunity" and says the SNP "will work make sure that the commitments made in the referendum" by the UK parties about more powers are kept.

    "These have to be delivered and they have to be delivered within the timescale," he adds.

    18:48: George Square latest Cameron Buttle BBC Scotland

    There is definitely evidence of riot-trained police officers now coming in.

    The trouble started very quickly with the charge from the Loyalist side. We believe it was a coordinated charge. It came from different parts of the square and different angles.

    You could see flares going off in different directions. You could see people running in and they had concealed Union flags within their coats and jackets which they pulled out.

    18:45: 'Atmosphere changed' Cameron Buttle BBC Scotland

    I have been in George Square all day. It has ebbed and flowed, the crowd occasionally unpleasant, but about 20 minutes ago the atmosphere changed very noticeably.

    What I would describe as a Loyalist crowd turned up with lots of Union flags. All day the Saltire has been in evidence.

    There was a rush from the Loyalist side. Flares went up, the police came in, it all got very nasty for a while. the police have separated the crowds on either side of the square now.

    @BBCScotlandnews 18:37: Get involved

    @Scanwich tweets: the only thing that's made me feel guilty for voting no is @AlexSalmond resigning #indyref #whatnow

    18:35: Flares in the square

    Protesters have let off flares at the gathering in Glasgow's George Square.

    geirge square
    18:33: Firecrackers in George Square

    Both campaigns are chanting slogans in George Square in Glasgow. A few firecrackers have been set off by both sides. Police are present and are trying to keep protesters separated.

    george square
    18:32: More from George Square

    Here's another picture of the events at George Square.

    18:31: George Square protest

    This is the scene in Glasgow's George Square right now.

    Crowds of "No" supporters and "Yes" supporters are being kept apart by police.

    george square
    18:30: 'Changed political landscape'

    Mr Swinney said Alex Salmond had changed the political landscape.

    He added: "The challenge for the next SNP leader and first minister will be to put the Westminster parties under pressure to deliver against the commitments that they made during the referendum campaign."

    18:26: Swinney's 'deep appreciation'

    John Swinney said he wanted to make clear his "deep and profound appreciation" for what Alex Salmond did to get the party and the Yes movement to "this point".

    Mr Swinney said: "He took us into government in 2007 when all the pundits said we couldn't do it. He won a majority in 2011 when absolutely every commentator said it was an impossibility and then he delivered an independence referendum which commanded 1.6 million votes for independence yesterday.

    "Alex has earned the right to decide at what moment he wanted to stand down."

    18:23: Rennie on Salmond

    The Sunday Herald's Scottish Political Editor Tom Gordon: Pretty brutal farewell statement from @willie_rennie on Salmond: "He has exhausted his political purpose."

    18:22: Salmond's 'astonishing gains'

    Finance Secretary John Swinney told BBC Scotland that Alex Salmond had delivered "astonishing gains" for the SNP and "astonishing improvements" for Scotland.

    Mr Swinney, who was leader of the SNP before Mr Salmond, said: "I think that culminated in creating the opportunity for the people of Scotland to have the most engaged democratic decision we could have had about our future in the referendum yesterday, in which 85% of the public that were eligible to vote, participated. That was a great triumph for democracy and it was brought about by Alex Salmond."

    18:15: Firm favourite

    Bookmakers have already priced Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as the odds-on favourite to become the next SNP leader.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Ladbrokes have Ms Sturgeon at 1/4, with Humza Yousaf next in line at 8/1. Alex Neil, Derek Mackay and Mike Russell follow at 10/1, with John Swinney priced at 16/1.

    William Hill is also offering odds - they price Ms Sturgeon at 1/3 and Mr Yousaf at 6/1.

    18:14: STUC on Salmond

    Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary Grahame Smith said: "Alex Salmond has been a dominant figure in Scottish politics for over two decades.

    "Whatever you think of his politics you cannot deny his political achievements. The longest serving first minister; the first party leader to secure a Scottish Parliament majority; delivering a referendum on independence and increasing popular support for it.

    "His disappointment in not seeing the job through must be immense and, although a surprise to me, it is perhaps the right time for him to step aside as we now look to enhance Scottish devolution."

    18:08: More from The Queen

    The Queen's statement from Balmoral concludes:

    "Now, as we move forward, we should remember that despite the range of views that have been expressed, we have in common an enduring love of Scotland, which is one of the things that helps to unite us all.

    "Knowing the people of Scotland as I do, I have no doubt that Scots, like others throughout the United Kingdom, are able to express strongly-held opinions before coming together again in a spirit of mutual respect and support, to work constructively for the future of Scotland and indeed all parts of this country.

    "My family and I will do all we can to help and support you in this important task."

    18:06: Queen statement

    The Queen has issued a statement on the outcome of the referendum.

    It says: "After many months of discussion, debate, and careful thought, we now know the outcome of the referendum, and it is a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect," it reads.

    "For many in Scotland and elsewhere today, there will be strong feelings and contrasting emotions - among family, friends and neighbours. That, of course, is the nature of the robust democratic tradition we enjoy in this country.

    "But I have no doubt that these emotions will be tempered by an understanding of the feelings of others."

    18:04: Queen statement

    The Queen said Scotland's vote to stay part of the UK was "a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect".

    17:59: Harvie: Salmond changed political landscape

    Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie said: "It's no secret that the Scottish Green Party and I haven't always agreed with Alex Salmond about a range of policy issues, but nobody in Scottish politics can doubt his commitment to the cause of Scottish independence, or the impact he has had, not only within Scotland, but also on a movement which still has the potential to reshape politics throughout these islands.

    "The first minister is 100% right to say that the aftermath of the independence referendum remains redolent with possibility, and that the incredible public engagement in our political process means that power must now lie with the public will, not with political parties in Westminster or Holyrood.

    "Despite our differences on a range of issues, I want to pay tribute to Alex Salmond for the role he has played in changing our political landscape. The future of Scottish, and of UK politics, could be entering a more open and creative period than we have known for many years.

    "If nothing else, Alex Salmond has been central to bringing us to that moment."

    17:51: @HumzaYousaf

    Humza Yousaf SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow tweets: @AlexSalmond's legacy not only his own political achievements but thousands like me who've been inspired by him to become politically active

    17:48: 'Outstanding parliamentarian' Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick, who was elected as an SNP MSP before quitting the party to take up the politically-neutral Holyrood role, commented on Mr Salmond's decision to step down as first minister.

    She said: "Members from across the chamber will recognise the first minister as an outstanding parliamentarian and will join me in recognition of his substantial achievements and public service as an MP, MSP and as Scotland's longest-serving first minister.

    "He will bow out following the most remarkable national debate and democratic renewal of our nation."

    Tweet @BBCScotlandnews 17:47: Get involved

    @HughWallace74 tweets: @AlexSalmond I am sad to see you go. This was never all about you but at the same time, without you we would have been nowhere. Thank you.

    Email: 17:45: Get involved

    Jim Daisley from Greenock texts: "Disappointed with the result but the 1.6 million people of Scotland standing up against Westminster, banking, big business and the media, and the politics of fear, should be proud. Congratulations and well done to Alex Salmond and I agree with his decision to resign and make way for new invigorated leadership.

    17:44: Law Society on Salmond

    The president of the Law Society of Scotland, Alistair Morris, said Alex Salmond's place in "our nation's political history is assured".

    He said: "His achievements cannot be underestimated, not only as the longest-serving first minister and the first to obtain an overall majority at Holyrood, but also in securing a historic referendum on independence.

    "His passion for Scotland, his commitment to creating a fairer and more prosperous society and his formidable debating skills, both at Holyrood and Westminster, have been at the heart of Scottish politics for over 30 years. He has also been a proud and effective ambassador for Scotland on the world stage."

    17:42: Miliband reaction

    UK Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Alex Salmond has been a formidable frontline politician.

    "Whatever our disagreements, he always spoke his mind and he has always stood up for what he believed in.

    "Our task now is to make sure that we deliver on the timetable we've set out, to deliver extra powers to the Scottish Parliament, and we will deliver on that."

    17:41: Salmond and the press

    The Guardian's Scotland correspondent Severin Carrell tweets: Newspapers not invited to @AlexSalmond resignation press conference: Financial Times; Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express. #indyref

    17:39: Miliband on further powers

    Leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband tweets: We will deliver on our promise of further powers to Scotland on the timetable set out during the referendum campaign.

    17:38: Your reaction to Salmond resignation

    Iain Murdoch from Fife emailed: Thank you Alex Salmond for all you have done to take Scotland forward to this point. You thoroughly deserve any rest you will now get. You have truly placed Scotland at the forefront of UK politics.

    Alvan Judson wrote: Just read your great news that Alex Salmond is resigning. Now he can go and spend his time watching re-runs of Braveheart until he, too, is blue in the face.

    Email: 17:36: Get involved

    Sam Wakerley: The only thing progressive about this whole debacle is the fact we gave Scotland the vote. True progress would be one world freedom passport, one currency, one renewable energy policy & every child having basic needs taken care of, with wants allocated based on effort and attainment. Call it UKIP call it SNP, call it BNP, nationalism is ugly.

    William Wright: And the lies have begun already. Millipede is scurrying back under the bench and retracting all his promises. I wonder how long it will be before Westminster fully rejects the lies they promised?

    17:33: Cameron on Salmond

    David Cameron has said: "Alex is a politician of huge talent and passion. I respect and admire his huge contribution to politics and public life."

    @William_Bain 17:33: William Bain MP

    Labour MP for Glasgow North East, William Bain, tweets: Huge aspect of #indyref level of public engagement with where power lies: why UK constitutional convention proposed by @Ed_Miliband is vital

    17:32: Thanks from lesbian and gay charity

    Scotland's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality charity, The Equality Network, said it wanted to say a "huge heartfelt thank you to Alex Salmond for significantly advancing LGBTI rights in Scotland".

    Policy coordinator Tom French said: "While more needs to be done, Alex Salmond should be incredibly proud of leading a government that has spoken out for LGBTI human rights, put in place some of the best hate crime legislation in Europe, and delivered one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world."

    17:32: Analysis Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    In some ways it is a shock decision but in other ways it was not really a shock given the scale of the defeat.

    In a way he must reflect that although he has improved the SNP's standing hugely - they are now in government in Scotland and they got about 45% of the vote last night - he is a man who has a lot of people who just will simply never vote for Alex Salmond. There is a limit to his appeal.

    He may take the view that he does not have that final ingredient that will get a majority of people in Scotland voting for independence.

    He says he only made the decision this morning and that probably indicates that it was the scale of the defeat that made him decide to go.

    17:31: 'Tip our hats' to Salmond

    Sir Richard Branson tells the BBC News Channel that the referendum was "a great day for Britain", adding: "We should tip our hats to Alex Salmond for changing Britain for the better."

    17:30: Lamont on Salmond

    Johann Lamont said Alex Salmond "should be proud of his career and not allow the manner of its ending to dominate his thinking.

    "There is no question that Nicola Sturgeon and he were a formidable team."

    17:29: Salmond an 'immense figure'

    Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont says: "Alex Salmond turned a minority party into a party of opposition, into a party of government, and was responsible for there being a referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.

    "He has undoubtedly been an immense figure in Scottish political history.

    "I do not detract from his achievements when I say that his love of Scottish independence sometimes blinded him to its consequences."

    17:28: 'Greatest Scottish politician of his generation'

    Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson said Alex Salmond fought a brilliant referendum campaign.

    He said: "It is not his fault that the Scottish people did not vote for independence on this occasion. The winning of 45% of the vote in the Scottish independence referendum is a superlative achievement.

    "It is a mark of Alex's integrity that he has taken personal responsibility.

    "He is undoubtedly the greatest Scottish politician of his generation."

    17:27: The view from London
    Evening Standard

    The London Evening Standard - an evening paper - has splashed on David Cameron's pledge for "English votes for English laws" - this picture tweeted by the paper's political editor, Joe Murphy.

    17:27: 'I wish him well'

    Mr Darling added: "He has rightly said that the referendum was a once in a lifetime event and that we all need to work to bring Scotland together.

    "He can look back with pride on being the longest serving first minister and to the huge contribution he has made to public life in Scotland.

    "I wish him well in the future."

    17:26: Darling on Salmond

    Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling said: "Alex Salmond is a formidable political figure. He transformed the SNP into a party of government and delivered their referendum on independence which they had craved so long.

    "Today he has accepted Scotland's verdict, recognising that it is for others in his party to take the SNP forward."

    17:26: Salmond: No plans to withdraw

    Mr Salmond reiterates that he has no plans to withdraw or retire from political life, when asked about his future by BBC Newsnight's Kirsty Wark.

    17:25: More Lamont

    Ms Lamont, who faced Mr Salmond on a weekly basis at first minister's questions, said: "I do not detract from his achievements when I say that his love of Scottish independence sometimes blinded him to its consequences.

    "He should be proud of his career and not allow the manner of its ending to dominate his thinking.

    "There is no question that Nicola Sturgeon and he were a formidable team."

    17:24: Lamont on Salmond

    Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: "Alex Salmond turned a minority party into a party of opposition into a party of government and was responsible for there being a referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.

    "He has undoubtedly been an immense figure in Scottish political history."

    17:22: More on Salmond

    London editor of news and opinion website The Daily Beast, Nico Hines, tweets: Christ, everyone is in tears at Holyrood. Incredible scenes. It's like a funeral

    17:21: Salmond reaction

    MP for Glasgow Central Anas Sarwar tweets: Haven't always agreed with Alex Salmond's politics but recognise his contribution & commitment to Scotland. Wish him well for the future

    17:20: Business on Salmond

    Business leaders have paid tribute to Alex Salmond, following his resignation.

    The Federation of Small Businesses, which has 20,000 members, said he had made "a huge contribution" to Scottish public life and wished him well for the future.

    17:20: Davidson on Salmond

    Ruth Davidson argued that Alex Salmond's "decision to step down will help our country come back together again".

    She added: "I am pleased that the first minister says he will continue to serve in Scottish politics.

    "Scotland will benefit from his experience and service as we move forward."

    17:17: Ruth Davidson statement

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "Alex Salmond has been the dominant figure in Scottish politics for the last seven years.

    "No-one can dispute his political achievements, nor fail to acknowledge his political gifts.

    "He has done the right thing in resigning.

    "While the referendum campaign has been hugely invigorating, by its very nature it has divided too."

    17:15: Salmond reaction

    Shona Robison, SNP MSP for Dundee, tweets: Really sad day, but watching the resignation of @AlexSalmond as FM, he has done so in a great statesmanlike manner

    17:14: 'Joint ticket' Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Nicola Sturgeon would be a clear frontrunner to take over as SNP leader and first minister after Mr Salmond steps down, but the question of who would succeed Ms Sturgeon as deputy is much less clear.

    Last time round, Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon stood for the SNP leadership on a joint ticket.

    17:13: The next SNP leader?

    In a statement, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has just said she could think of "no greater privilege" than leading the SNP, adding that the decision to stand was "not for today".

    Back in April, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke to the BBC's Marianne Taylor about her life and career, and the responsibilities of power.

    Nicola Sturgeon
    17:08: 'Finest first minister'

    "Alex's announcement today inevitably raises the question of whether I will be a candidate to succeed him as SNP leader," she added.

    "I can think of no greater privilege than to seek to lead the Party I joined when I was just 16. However, that decision is not for today.

    "My priority this weekend, after a long and hard campaign, is to get some rest and spend time with my family. I also want the focus over the next few days to be on the outstanding record and achievements of the finest first minister Scotland has had."

    17:07: 'Personal gratitude'

    Ms Sturgeon added: "The personal debt of gratitude I owe Alex is immeasurable. He has been my friend, mentor and colleague for more than 20 years. Quite simply, I would not have been able to do what I have in politics without his constant advice, guidance and support through all these years."

    17:06: Sturgeon statement

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Alex Salmond's achievements as SNP leader and Scotland's first minister are second to none.

    "He led the SNP into government and has given our country a renewed self confidence. Through policies such as the council tax freeze, free prescriptions and the scrapping of tuition fees, he has made a real difference for hundreds of thousands of Scots. And yesterday he inspired 1.6 million of our fellow citizens to vote Yes to independence."

    16:59: Who is Alex Salmond?

    Alex Salmond may not have achieved the ultimate prize of Scottish independence - and has now stood down as SNP leader and first minister - but no-one should doubt the scale of Alex Salmond's achievements, says BBC political report Brian Wheeler.

    16:55: Salmond 'provides shocks'

    John Curtice, polling expert and professor of politics at Strathclyde University, says Mr Salmond "has form in providing us with shocks when it comes to the leadership of the SNP".

    "Some must remember the summer of 2000 when suddenly he announced he was standing down as leader of the SNP and was leaving the Scottish Parliament... then in the summer of 2004, he suddenly announced that in fact he was going to stand as leader again.

    "He spots opportunities and as a result of that he does provide us with shocks."

    16:50: Watch Salmond speech
    @joepike 16:44: Joe Pike of Border TV

    Joe Pike, political reporter for Border TV, tweets: Room is transfixed. Salmond's tone soft, his eyes watering. His advisers show no emotion. #indyref

    @ClyesdAileen 16:42: Aileen Campbell MSP

    Aileen Campbell, SNP MSP for Clydesdale, tweets: Gutted about @AlexSalmond 's resignation - he took us to the brink of independence and gave us all the chance to decide.

    16:41: Independence dead?

    When asked by the BBC's James Cook if his dream of independence is now dead, Mr Salmond says: "I think a referendum is a once in a generation process - that's my opinion."

    He goes on to say that he does not envisage another constitutional referendum in the "future we can see".

    @GlasgowMSP 16:40: Bob Doris SNP

    SNP MSP or Glasgow Bob Doris tweets: It has been a privilege 2 serve under Alex Salmond. He has brought gr8 confidence 2 our nation &social progress 2 Scotland in face of UK cuts.

    @glasgowcathcart 16:35: James Dornan MSP

    SNP member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Cathcart, James Dornan, tweets: Devastated to hear @AlexSalmond going to step down as SNP Leader. Without a doubt the finest politician of his generation. Thanks Boss.

    16:34: Salmond resigns Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    .@AlexSalmond to remain First Minister until SNP elects new leader, scheduled for mid-November SNP conference, then vote of MSPs.

    16:33: Salmond: Campaign 'bigger than me'

    Asked if he was adding to the upset for friends and party members on a day that was already difficult for them, he responded: "I have consistently argued... that this was not about an individual or a political party - or any political party - this was much bigger than that."

    16:31: Salmond: 'People accept result'

    "I see no sign of the divided country that some people were forecasting - 99% of people know we have elections and referendums to have a result."

    He says it's been an "invigorating process".

    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 16:29: Get Involved

    The number of tweets about the Referendum dropped to under 40,000 between 3pm and 4pm. The figure is down 7% on the previous hour.

    Top tweet in the last hour is from Alastair Ross: "BBC is reporting Labour leader Ed Miliband will not sign up to the PM's plan to give more powers to the Scottish Parliament #indyref" It was retweeted 510 times.

    Comedian Russell Brand tweeted his latest video: "Were the cards stacked against independence? 'How Westminster Fear & Media Bias Shafted Scotland' is today's Trews." It is currently the most shared video.

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

    16:28: 'Meaningless' James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Alex Salmond says when he asked David Cameron about the timetable for more powers, the prime minister said it was a meaningless process.

    Text 80295 16:28: Alex Salmond's resignation- Your Views

    Lorna: I was heartbroken by the No vote and the acceptance by 55% of a pig in a Westminster poke. However, Alex Salmond's stepping down has left us leaderless and at the mercy of the spivs of the city.

    Andy in Darvel: Alex Salmond has put in a good shift, fair play. Is there grounds though for holding Scottish elections early now?

    16:26: Salmond questions

    Alex Salmond is continuing to take questions from journalists at Bute House in Edinburgh.

    16:22: Salmond: Key quotes

    "I am immensely proud of the campaign which Yes Scotland fought and of the 1.6 million voters who rallied to that cause by backing an independent Scotland.

    "I am also proud of the 85% turnout in the referendum and the remarkable response of all of the people of Scotland who participated in this great constitutional debate and the manner in which they conducted themselves.

    "We now have the opportunity to hold Westminster's feet to the fire on the 'vow' that they have made to devolve further meaningful power to Scotland. This places Scotland in a very strong position."

    16:20: Salmond: Key quotes on future

    "Until then [November] I will continue to serve as first minister. After that I will continue to offer to serve as member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeenshire East.

    "It has been the privilege of my life to serve Scotland as first minister. But as I said often during the referendum campaign this is not about me or the SNP. It is much more important than that.

    "The position is this. We lost the referendum vote but can still carry the political initiative. More importantly Scotland can still emerge as the real winner."

    16:18: Salmond: Key quotes on resignation

    "For me right now there is a decision as to who is best placed to lead this process forward politically.

    "I believe that in this new exciting situation, redolent with possibility, party, parliament and country would benefit from new leadership.

    "Therefore I have told the National Secretary of the SNP that I will not accept nomination to be a candidate for leader at the Annual Conference in Perth on 13-15 November.

    "After the membership ballot I will stand down as first minister to allow the new leader to be elected by due parliamentary process."

    16:21: Salmond: I will not retire

    "I have no intention of retiring from Scottish politics - there are a large number of things you are able to do when you're not first minister or leader of a political party."

    Salmond 'had to make judgement'

    When asked his reasons for standing down, Mr Salmond says: "I had to make a judgement as to whether I'm best placed to take that opportunity forward - and I think others are.

    "And the party I'm sure will make a wise choice and take party and country forward. The most important thing is not about First Minister."

    Tweet @BBCScotlandnews 16:17: Join in the conversation

    @Soulstorm99 tweets: This dark day for Scotland just keeps getting darker. Thanks for everything, @AlexSalmond. #indyref

    16:12: Salmond successor

    Mr Salmond says there there are a "number of eminently qualified and very suitable candidates for leader".

    16:11: Salmond 'time over'

    "We lost the referendum vote but Scotland can still carry the political initiative. For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die."

    Alex Salmond
    16:09: Breaking News

    Alex Salmond is to stand down as first minister.

    16:08: Salmond speaks

    First Minister Alex Salmond, speaking to members of the media, said: "I am immensely proud of the campaign that Yes Scotland fought and particularly of the 1.6m voters who rallied to that cause."

    Tweet @BBCScotlandnews 16:02: Join the conversation

    @Dilicorne tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay @BBCWorld the fact #scottland would end-up outside of #eu must have played a role in the referendum @Number10gov

    16:01: Highlights from the final day

    Watch highlights of the night Scotland decided to stay part of the union.

    16:01: The minute Scotland knew

    Watch #BBCtrending's take on the social media reaction from Scotland's No vote.

    Voter's reaction to No result
    16:00: Salmond press conference

    First Minister Alex Salmond's first press conference since the result is due to start shortly.

    15:55: Trident Protest Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    'Yes' backers in good spirits outside parliament. A piper plays as they plan an anti-trident demo tomorrow

    15:51: Miliband 'derailing' Devo plans Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    Bernard Jenkin [Conservative backbencher] accusing Ed Miliband of "derailing" PM's devo plans for England and "playing fast and loose" with the Union

    Tweet @BBCScotlandnews 15:50: Get involved

    @lauraharmes tweets: I've basically been awake for 3 days. Things are getting a bit trippy #indyref

    15:37: Holyrood debate Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland
    Scottish Parliament

    Crowds gather at the Scottish Parliament. Many proud independence supporters still wearing 'Yes' badges #indyref

    15:35: Tears and relief

    Watch Yes and Better Together supporters giving their reaction to a No vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

    Voter reactions


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