Reaction to Salmond's resignation
Tributes poured in this afternoon from across the political and civic spectrum after Alex Salmond announced he is to step down as First Minister and SNP leader.
The Aberdeenshire East MSP intends to resign his post once the party selects a new leader at its party conference in Perth in two months time.
The decision comes after voters yesterday rejected independence by a margin of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
Here is a taste of the reaction so far:
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Alex is a politician of huge talent and passion. He has been an effective First Minister and always fights his corner. While we disagree profoundly about his goal of a separated Scotland, and many other things, I respect and admire his huge contribution to politics and public life.”
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: “Alex Salmond turned a minority party into a party of opposition into a party of government and was responsible for there being a referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.
“He has undoubtedly been an immense figure in Scottish political history. I do not detract from his achievements when I say that his love of Scottish independence sometimes blinded him to its consequences.
“He should be proud of his career and not allow the manner of its ending to dominate his thinking. There is no question that Nicola Sturgeon and he were a formidable team.”
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said: “Alex Salmond has been the dominant figure in Scottish politics for the last seven years. No-one can dispute his political achievements, nor fail to acknowledge his political gifts.
“He has done the right thing in resigning. While the referendum campaign has been hugely invigorating, by its very nature it has divided too. His decision to step down will help our country come back together again.
“I am pleased that the First Minister says he will continue to serve in Scottish politics. Scotland will benefit from his experience and service as we move forward.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “Alex Salmond has been a formidable frontline politician. Whatever our disagreements, he has always spoke his mind and he has always stood up for what he believed in. Our task now is to make sure we deliver on the timetable we set out to deliver extra powers to the Scottish Parliament and we will deliver on that.”
Tom French, Policy Coordinator for the Equality Network, said: “While the Equality Network is neutral on party politics, we want to say a huge heartfelt thank you to Alex Salmond for significantly advancing LGBTI rights in Scotland during his time as First Minister.
“Scotland is now a leader on LGBTI equality, and while more needs to be done, Alex Salmond should be incredibly proud of leading a government that has spoken out for LGBTI human rights, put in place some of the best hate crime legislation in Europe, and delivered one of the most progressive equal marriage laws in the world.”
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