Britain urges unity after Scotland rejects independence

2014-09-19 09:12

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised more powers and called for unity after a deeply divided Scotland voted No to independence in a historic referendum.

“Now is the time for our United Kingdom to come together and to move forward,” Cameron said today in a speech in front of his office at 10 Downing Street.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond accepted defeat following the vote against independence but results indicate that Scotland is deeply divided.

The latest tally indicated that 55% of Scots voted No to independence and 45% voted Yes.

The campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom had won following a turnout of more than 80%.

“If that is the result for the referendum then clearly I am deeply disappointed,” Scottish National Party deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon told the broadcaster.

The prospect of a vote for independence had sparked volatility in financial markets and caused the pound to tumble, but it surged to a more than two-year high against the euro today on early results.

Millions of Scots had turned out to vote yesterday with queues snaking outside polling stations, a level of interest reflecting a campaign that has sparked fevered debate.

The fact that about 1.4 million people voted for independence paints a picture of a nation divided.

In a bid to fend off a last-minute surge in support for independence, the three main political parties in the British parliament promised new powers on income tax and welfare to the devolved Scottish government Edinburgh.

Sturgeon said the referendum had shown a “strong demand for change” and insisted the British government in London must now make good on its promises.

“Scotland has changed forever, there’s no turning back,” she said.

The result is a disappointing end for the Yes campaign and a crushing blow for many nationalists who believed they might just make history.

Collecting the votes from the far corners of Scotland was no mean task – some ballot boxes had to be brought by helicopter and others by boat from remote islands.

Police were investigating allegations of fraud in Glasgow, after electoral officials said people had turned up to vote only to find their names already crossed off the list.

The question for voters at Scotland’s more than 5 000 polling stations was “Should Scotland be an independent country?” and they were asked to mark either Yes or No.

A lot of the debate had focused on the economy, what currency an independent Scotland would use and whether it could be a member of the European Union.

Scotland’s Parliament, opened in 1999, holds some powers devolved from Westminster to set policy in certain areas of domestic policy, such as health and education.

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