Alex Salmond resigns as first minister after Scotland rejects independence

Leader of the Scottish National party says he will stand down in November when a new leader of the party will be chosen

Alex Salmond concedes defeat last night at the Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Alex Salmond has said he will stand down as Scotland's first minister and Scottish National party leader after failing to secure a majority for independence in Thursday's referendum.

He told a press conference in his official residence of Bute House that he would stand down as first minister in November when a new SNP leader will be chosen.

Salmond said he had made the decision in the morning after the referendum result emerged: "For me right now there is a decision as to who is best placed to lead this process forward politically.

"I believe that in this new exciting situation, redolent with possibility, party, parliament and country would benefit from new leadership."

He said he would not accept the SNP's nomination to be a candidate for leader at the party's annual conference in Perth in November, allowing a new party leader to be elected.

Given the SNP's majority in the Scottish parliament, the new leader will also become first minister.

The SNP deputy leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is widely seen as the most likely successor to the long-serving Salmond.

Salmond added that the most important thing to the independence cause was not about who is first minister of Scotland.

Aged 59, Salmond has had two spells of ten years leading the SNP. He said: "I think that's a reasonable spell of service and I think there is an aspect that you have to understand and recognise when it is time to give someone else a chance to move that forward."

Thursday's Scottish independence referendum saw the no campaign fronted by Alistair Darling win 55.3% of the vote, compared to 44.7% for yes.

Source: The Guardian


Publish Date: 

Friday, 19 September 2014