Alex Salmond’s dream of Scottish independence is on the brink of ruin tonight, with early results suggesting voters have dramatically rejected his plan for separation.
In the first official result of the night, Clackmannanshire rejected independence by 54 per cent to 46 per cent, despite it being a key target for Mr Salmond’s hopes of securing a Yes vote. Orkney also voted No by 67 per cent to 33 per cent, while the SNP has also conceded defeat in West Lothian.
Sources in the Better Together campaign claim up to two thirds of postal votes support the No cause, after the final YouGov poll released as counting began put No on 54 per cent and Yes on 46 per cent.
The First Minister has cancelled an expected appearance in his Aberdeenshire, amid speculation the No campaign has triumphed in his own backyard. Mr Salmond is now expected to travel to Edinburgh overnight, before addressing Scotland in the morning. If his plan for independence is overwhelmingly rejected by voters, he will come under pressure to resign.
Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords Jim Wallace said: ‘Never write Alex (Salmond) off… it’s not for me to say what he should do. He’ll have some hard thinking to do. I think he will be in a difficult position – he has led his troops to the top of the hill, it’s difficult to march them down again.’
Tonight Buckingham Palace said the Queen is following the results ‘closely’, with senior aides expected to meet from 1am to discuss her official response to the verdict of the people of Scotland, likely to involve a written statement in the afternoon.