What would William Wallace think?
Scotland last night rejected independence and voted to stay in the United Kingdom, averting a political crisis that could have resulted in the break up of Great Britain.
Scottish leader Alex Salmond admitted defeat this morning, after 55 per cent of this citizens voted to stay part of the historic union with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Independence had been a lifelong dream for Salmond and his Scottish Nationalist Party, who had fought for decades to run their own affairs and secede from the British government in Westminster.
But it remains to be seen if the country can heal the bitter divisions exposed by the referendum campaign – which resulted in a much tighter race than expected.
On the worst day of his political life, he tried to put a brave face on the electorate’s crushing verdict, claiming that it showed only that a majority had decided ‘at this stage’ not to become an independent country.
But with all councils declared, No secured 55 per cent of the vote, a 10-point lead which will trigger speculation about whether Mr Salmond can survive as leader of the Scottish Nationalists.
First Minister Salmond admitted defeat on Friday as almost two million people in Scotland voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom but demanded the British government hand over new powers within six months.
With the final votes counted in all 32 council areas of Scotland, No to independence secured 55 per cent of the vote, a 10-point lead which triggered speculation about whether Mr Salmond can survive as leader of the Scottish Nationalists.
British Prime Minister David Cameron also celebrated the result, and in a dramatic move announced plans to use the offer of more powers to Scotland to introduce ‘English votes for English laws’, a move which would strengthen his own Conservative party’s grip on Westminster.
The pound rose sharply and the FTSE 100 Index is expected to follow suit in a relief rally for markets after Scotland’s rejection of independence.
The Queen has been ‘closely’ monitoring the outcome of the vote, and is expected to issue a public statement welcoming the survival of the 307-year Union later on Friday.
Mr Cameron said on Friday that Scotland had had its say and it was now time to listen to the ‘millions of voices of England’. He said it was ‘crucial’ to give England the same powers over tax, spending and welfare as Scotland.
He pledged to make this happen at the same time as handing more powers to Scotland, following his last-minute pledge for further devolution during the referendum campaign.