Leaders comment on referendum result

Posted on 19/09/2014 by



Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron have commented on this morning’s referendum result. HM Queen Elizabeth II, Great Britain’s head of state, has also issued a message of support and Edinburgh’s council leader Andrew Burns gave the city’s perspective.

In a statement from Balmoral, HM The Queen said: “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.

“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.

“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.”

Royal visit to Hertfordshire

Earlier today, speaking at Dynamic Earth before the final count had been declared, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Thank you Scotland for 1.6 million votes for Scottish independence. Our friends in the Highlands of Scotland are still to speak, so the final results aren’t in but we know that there is going to be a majority for the No campaign.

“It’s important to say that our referendum was an agreed and consented process and Scotland has by 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.

“But I think all of us in this campaign say that that 45 per cent, that 1.6 million votes, is a substantial vote for Scottish independence and the future of this country. Let us say something which I hope that unites all campaigns and all Scots. I think the process by which we have made our decision as a nation reflects enormous credit upon Scotland.

“A turnout of 86 per cent is one of the highest in the democratic world for any election or any referendum in history. This has been a triumph for the democratic process and for participation in politics.

“For example, the initiative by which 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote has proved to be a resounding success. I suspect that no one will ever again dispute their right and ability to participate fully and responsibly in democratic elections.

“So we now face the consequences of Scotland’s democratic decision. Firstly, Clause 30 of the Edinburgh Agreement is now in operation. On behalf of the Scottish Government I accept the results and I pledge to work constructively in the interest of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.


“Secondly, the unionist parties made vows late in the campaign to devolve more powers to Scotland. Scotland will expect these to be honoured in rapid course. Just as a reminder, we have been promised a second reading of a Scotland Bill by the 27th of March next year and not just the 1.6 million Scots who voted for independence will demand that that timetable is followed but all Scots who participated in this referendum will demand that that timetable is followed.

“I’ll be speaking to the Prime Minister shortly after this statement but can I return thirdly to the empowerment of so many Scots entering the political process for the very first time. It is something that is so valuable it has to be cherished, preserved and built upon.


“I’ve said before many times in this campaign that the most moving things I saw was the queue of people in Dundee two or three weeks ago patiently waiting to register to vote. Most of them for the first time ever deciding to participate in the democratic process. Today in Inverurie I met a 61 year old lady just coming out of the polling station who had never voted before in her life. I met a soldier, a former soldier, who hadn’t voted since he left the army some 24 years ago. And these people were inspired to enter democratic politics by the thought that they could make a difference in building something better for the country.

“These are people who all of us as we campaigned have met and been inspired by. And all of us are a part of all of that experience that we have encountered. Whatever else we can say about this referendum campaign, we have touched sections of the community who’ve never before been touched by politics. These sections of the community have touched us and touched the political process. I don’t think that will ever be allowed to go back to business as usual in politics again.

“So friends, sometimes it’s best to reflect where we are on a journey. 45 per cent, 1.6 million of our fellow citizens voting for independence, I don’t think that any of us whenever we entered politics would have thought such a thing to be either credible or possible.

“Today of all days as we bring Scotland together let us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short. Let us dwell on the distance we have travelled and have confidence that the movement is so broad in Scotland that it will take this nation forward and we shall go forward as one nation. Thank you very much.”

10 Downing Street

“The people of Scotland have spoken” said Prime Minister David Cameron following the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum.

Mr Cameron said: “The people of Scotland have spoken. It is a clear result. They have kept our country of 4 nations together. Like millions of other people, I am delighted. As I said during the campaign, it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end.

“And I know that sentiment was shared by people, not just across our country, but also around the world because of what we’ve achieved together in the past and what we can do together in the future.

“So now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together, and to move forward. A vital part of that will be a balanced settlement – fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.

“Let us first remember why we had this debate – and why it was right to do so.

“The Scottish National Party (SNP) was elected in Scotland in 2011 and promised a referendum on independence. We could have blocked that; we could have put it off, but just as with other big issues, it was right to take – not duck – the big decision.

“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.

“Let us also remember why it was right to ask the definitive question, Yes or No. Because now the debate has been settled for a generation or as Alex Salmond has said, perhaps for a lifetime.

“So there can be no disputes, no re-runs – we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.

Scotland voted for a stronger Scottish Parliament backed by the strength and security of the United Kingdom and I want to congratulate the No campaign for that – for showing people that our nations really are better together.

I also want to pay tribute to Yes Scotland for a well-fought campaign and to say to all those who did vote for independence: “we hear you”.

We now have a chance – a great opportunity – to change the way the British people are governed, and change it for the better.

Political leaders on all sides of the debate now bear a heavy responsibility to come together and work constructively to advance the interests of people in Scotland, as well as those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, for each and every citizen of our United Kingdom.

Leaving PhotosTo those in Scotland sceptical of the constitutional promises made, let me say this we have delivered on devolution under this government, and we will do so again in the next Parliament.

The 3 pro-union parties have made commitments, clear commitments, on further powers for the Scottish Parliament. We will ensure that they are honoured in full.

And I can announce today that Lord Smith of Kelvin – who so successfully led Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games – has agreed to oversee the process to take forward the devolution commitments, with powers over tax, spending and welfare all agreed by November and draft legislation published by January.

Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs. The rights of these voters need to be respected, preserved and enhanced as well.

It is absolutely right that a new and fair settlement for Scotland should be accompanied by a new and fair settlement that applies to all parts of our United Kingdom. In Wales, there are proposals to give the Welsh government and Assembly more powers. And I want Wales to be at the heart of the debate on how to make our United Kingdom work for all our nations. In Northern Ireland, we must work to ensure that the devolved institutions function effectively.

I have long believed that a crucial part missing from this national discussion is England. We have heard the voice of Scotland – and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard. The question of English votes for English laws – the so-called West Lothian question – requires a decisive answer.

So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland.

I hope that is going to take place on a cross-party basis. I have asked William Hague to draw up these plans. We will set up a Cabinet Committee right away and proposals will also be ready to the same timetable. I hope the Labour Party and other parties will contribute.

It is also important we have wider civic engagement about to improve governance in our United Kingdom, including how to empower our great cities. And we will say more about this in the coming days.

love scotland vote no“This referendum has been hard fought. It has stirred strong passions. It has electrified politics in Scotland, and caught the imagination of people across the whole of our United Kingdom.

“It will be remembered as a powerful demonstration of the strength and vitality of our ancient democracy. Record numbers registered to vote and record numbers cast their vote. We can all be proud of that. It has reminded us how fortunate we are that we are able to settle these vital issues at the ballot box, peacefully and calmly.

“Now we must look forward, and turn this into the moment when everyone – whichever way they voted – comes together to build that better, brighter future for our entire United Kingdom.”


City of Edinburgh Council leader Councillor Andrew Burns said: 

“The dust is still settling following the outcome of the Scottish Independence Referendum, announced earlier today at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston.

“The media attention on Scotland, and on Edinburgh in particular, has been unparalleled and I am delighted that, as ever, our city shone. Credit is due to the many hundreds of council, and other, staff who played their part in making this possible – both at Ingliston and elsewhere across the city.

“Of course, whatever the result, Edinburgh was still going to remain Scotland’s capital and a wonderful place to live and work – and, crucially, to do business.

“We are in the unique position here in that we have a Labour-SNP coalition running the city – something that will continue at least until the next local council elections in 2017.

“We have successfully kept constitutional debate out of the Chambers for the first half of our term and there is absolutely no reason at all why that can’t continue.

“I can assure you that our focus will remain on running the city in the fairest and most efficient way possible and on keeping to the pledges set out in our Contract with the Capital two-and-a-half years ago.”

yes no images

What’s happens next?

Following yesterday’s referendum Scotland will remain as part of the United Kingdom, with its own Parliament. The UK and Scottish governments will continue to make the changes to the powers of the Scottish Parliament that were agreed in the Scotland Act 2012.

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced that Lord Smith of Kelvin has agreed to oversee the process to take forward the devolution commitments on further powers for the Scottish Parliament by the three pro-union parties.

What are the next powers to be devolved?

As laid out in the Scotland Act 2012, further devolution of financial powers to the Scottish Parliament will come into effect from April 2015 and April 2016. The next powers to be devolved are:

1. Stamp duty land tax and landfill tax
From April 2015, Scottish government legislation will replace stamp duty land tax and landfill tax in Scotland with the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax Revenue. Scotland will become responsible for the collection of the new taxes.

2. Extending borrowing powers
From April 2015, current borrowing powers of up to £500 million will be extended and a new Scottish cash reserve will be created to help manage the new tax receipts.

3. New capital borrowing power
From April 2015, there will be a new £2.2 billion capital borrowing power for the Scottish Parliament, with a limited version of the power in place from April 2013 to allow the Scottish government to fund £100 million of pre-payments for the Forth Road Crossing.

4. Scottish rate of income tax
A new Scottish rate of income tax will come into force in April 2016. This means the Scottish Parliament will set a new Scottish rate – with no upper or lower limit – which will apply equally to all of the reduced main UK income tax rates.

scotland_in_uk_for_sizing-1And the extra powers promised by the Westminster leaders in last week’s ‘vow’? Discussions are under way …