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Queen Asks for Calm after Independence Vote

THE man who led the failed push for Scottish independence Alex Salmond (pictured with the UK’s Queen) has resigned as the UK union continues to unravel in the fallout from yesterday’s historic referendum in Scotland.

Salmond’s resignation came just hours before the Queen issued a rare statement from her castle in Balmoral in Scotland with a plea for unity and for inflamed emotions to be tempered.

It also came in a day as debate raged about the future of the UK with several regions across the union now demanding more autonomy from Westminster, including the capital London and the republican movement calling for a national debate on the monarchy.

Mr Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, was always expected to step down after his two-year campaign for independence failed at yesterday’s vote, with 55 per cent over 45 per cent of Scots voting to stay in the UK.

Mr Salmond, 59, staked his long political career to the outcome and yesterday announced he was also stepping down as leader of the Scottish National Party that he has led for 20 years.

“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,” he said from his official residence.

“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.”

He is likely to be replaced by his deputy Nicola Sturgeon.

After his resignation, the Queen said after months of debate over the future direction of Scotland there had now been an outcome and that had to be respected despite strong opinions.

“For many in Scotland and elsewhere today, there will be strong feelings and contrasting emotions — among family, friends and neighbours,” she said in a statement from Balmoral.

“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.

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