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Alex Salmond speaking after defeat in the Scottish independence referendum overnight. PA Wire/Press Association Images
He's off

Alex Salmond is resigning as Scotland's First Minister

It follows defeat for the Yes side in the independence referendum overnight.

Updated 11.50pm

SCOTLAND’S FIRST MINISTER Alex Salmond said earlier today he is to resign following defeat in the independence referendum.

The leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party saw the Yes campaign beaten by 2,001,926 votes to 1,617,989 or a national split of 45 per cent for Yes to 55 per cent for No in the referendum which asked voters if Scotland should become an independent country.

“We lost the referendum vote but Scotland can still carry the political initiative. For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die,” Salmond said today.

He will resign as leader of the SNP in November when he will not accept the nomination to be leader of the party at its annual conference in Perth.

After a new SNP leader is elected by party members, Salmond will formally stand down as First Minister to allow the new leader to takeover as First Minister following a parliamentary vote

“Until then [November] I will continue to serve as first minister. After that I will continue to offer to serve as member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeenshire East,” Salmond said.

He added that there are a ”number of eminently qualified and very suitable candidates for leader” and said he was “immensely proud” of the campaign which Yes Scotland fought.

Deputy first minister and deputy SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, who was a prominent voice for the Yes campaign, will be viewed as being among the favourites to succeed Salmond.

Despite his resignation today, Salmond says he has no intention of retiring from politics saying “there are a number of things you are able to do when you’re not first minister or leader of a political party”.

First published 4.19pm

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