A referendum to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country has seen voters over the border confirm the nation is ‘Better Together’.
The Gazette’s sister website The Scotsman reported this morning: “Scotland today rejected independence and voted to remain part of the United Kingdom at the end of the most intense political campaign the country has ever seen.
“The silent majority finally raised its voice on a tense yet utterly compelling night of political history.”
During a referendum that attracted record numbers of voters and was hailed as a triumph of democracy, the people of Scotland voted to maintain the 307-year Union.
The turn-out at the polls was more than 80 per cent, with a decisive ‘No’ vote showing the Better Together campaign won the electorate over above First Minister Alex Salmond’s Yes campaign.
Writing before the results of the vote, South West Herts MP David Gauke said: “The United Kingdom has a proud history. We have been a force for good around the world and the union has provided relative stability, prosperity and freedom to its peoples.
“We are tied together by what Abraham Lincoln described, in a different context, as our ‘mystic bonds of memory’. To break those bonds would be tragic.
“It is clear that, even if there is a No vote, there is a sizeable body of opinion (including amongst the No voters) for more powers to be located in Scotland.
“That should be respected and recognised. Ignoring that view will only cause a future constitutional crisis.
“All the unionist parties recognise this. So we need to work constructively to deliver further devolution and also ensure that there is constitutional fairness for all parts of the UK, including England.”
Dacorum mayor Cllr Allan Lawson, who lived in the Scottish city of Inverness until the age of 18, said: “As a Scot I am extremely pleased that they voted the way they did – and I am very glad I am not an alien this morning.
“I think voting no was the right decision.”
Chairman of Hemel Hempstead’s UKIP party Howard Koch said: “Common sense has prevailed. The no vote is what is best for Scotland, definitely.
“UKIP’s policy has been, for a long time, the federalisation of the UK with devolved powers. That, I think, is a very good idea, and there is a lot more that now needs to be decided.
“We need to look at the constitution very carefully, and it is something that shouldn’t be rushed through and got wrong.
“It hasn’t been nice reading about the bullying and intimidation in this referendum in the UK, which is envied for its tolerance, fairness and democracy.”
Euro MP for the eastern region – which covers Herts – Richard Howitt said proposals for greater devolution would give more powers locally too, but warned against any backlash of English nationalism.
The Labour MEP, who spent two days in Scotland during the campaign, said: “The ‘No’ vote means we will continue to enjoy stronger defence, more influence in the world and a richer culture in what remains our own united country.
“Like many others I have family links in Scotland and didn’t want to find my cousins had been turned into foreigners overnight. The Scottish people have chosen to keep our family together.
“I was disturbed by the elements of fear, threat and intimidation that the campaign sadly generated.
“It is important English politicians contribute to a climate of reconciliation after the result and recognise greater devolution can bring more powers to local councils and to our region as well.
“We have defeated Scottish nationalism and must not allow ugly English nationalism to rise in its wake.”
Hemel Hempstead parliamentary candidate for Labour in the 2015 general election Tony Breslin said: “I’m delighted that the Scots have decided to stay with the Union we are stronger together both at home and abroad. The referendum will also mean real change for England, Wales and Northern Ireland which will be good for us all”.
Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead Mike Penning told the Gazette: “The vote last night was great news for the future of Scotland, but also for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“It is now for all of us to develop a modern union that is fair to every part of the UK.
“Having served alongside men and women from all parts of the UK while in the army and fire service, I’m so proud Scotland made the right decision to stay together.”
Leader of Dacorum Borough Council Andrew Williams echoed the sentiments, saying: “As a Unionist I’m delighted that the Scottish people have made this historic decision and decided to stay in the United Kingdom. It is fantastic news that the UK will remain together and go forward stronger and more unified.”
This story will be updated with more reaction from the Dacorum area.
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