SCOTLAND has voted ‘No’ to independence dealing a crushing defeat to SNP leader Alex Salmond.
The country voted by 55 per cent to 45 per cent in favour of staying within the United Kingdom.
The No vote has been welcomed by Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland.
First Minister Peter Robinson is to meet the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones today to discuss the implications of the ‘No’ vote in the Scottish referendum.
After voted was announced, Mr Robinson tweeted: “Delighted Scotland has voted to remain in the Union. We are better together.”
Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt said that common sense had prevailed.
David Cameron has this morning promised new powers for Scotland as he hailed the decision of voters to remain in the UK but cautioned that now the “millions of voices of England must be heard”.
The Prime Minister was speaking outside No 10 after Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond accepted defeat following the vote against independence in a historic referendum.
Mr Cameron said the new powers he, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband had promised the Scottish people in the dying days of the referendum would be “honoured in full”.
But he unveiled a substantial shake-up of powers for the whole of the UK suggesting new powers for Wales and Northern Ireland and greater influence for English MPs over English law.
He said work would start on a “full and fair settlement for all of the UK” in what will clearly be a shift towards a more federalist UK.
Soon after the result became clear Mr Salmond, whose dream of breaking up the 307-year-old Union has been shattered, said: “I accept the verdict and expect all people to follow suit.”
He was quick to demand extra powers were delivered warning Mr Cameron: “Scotland will expect these to be honoured in rapid course.”
Acknowledging victory leader of the no campaign Alistair Darling told people in Glasgow: “The silent have spoken.”
He hailed the vote as a momentous day for the country but urged Westminster politicians to listen to the people, who had called for change both in Scotland and the UK.
Referring to the devolved powers, he said it was time to move forward and said: “Come on Scotland let’s get on with this together.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hailed the no vote as a “momentous decision to safeguard our family of nations for future generations”.
But he added that a “vote against independence was clearly not a vote against change and we must now deliver on time and in full the radical package of newly devolved powers to Scotland.
“At the same time, this referendum north of the border has led to demand for constitutional reform across the United Kingdom as people south of the border also want more control and freedom in their own hands rather than power being hoarded in Westminster.
“So this referendum marks not only a new chapter for Scotland within the UK but also wider constitutional reform across the Union.”
The pound has strengthened and the FTSE 100 is forecast to rebound by more than 100 points following the No vote in Scotland’s independence referendum.
But the result has left a country divided with Yes victories in Dundee and the nation’s largest city Glasgow.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said whatever the result, politics in Scotland would not be the same: “The status quo has been thoroughly smashed.”
Labour MP Jim Murphy, who played a leading role in the Better Together campaign, told Sky News: “We are going to have to make a success of the decision Scotland has made.
“While I’m delighted, there is no time or space for triumph and we have got to get on and offer that devolution package we offered and unite the country around that.”
In the closing stages of a hard-fought campaign, it appeared the momentum had swung towards Mr Salmond.
Ultimately however, he failed to convince the Scottish electorate that the merits of going it alone outweighed the risks.
The turnout hit a record of 86%, with figures as high as 91% in East Dunbartonshire, 90.4% in East Renfrewshire and 90.1% in Stirling.