Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has stepped down as leader of the Scottish National Party and leader of Scotland.
Salmond led the Yes campaign in the Scottish referendum on whether the country should become independent.
The campaign was defeated by 55 per cent to 45 per cent in yesterday’s vote.
Salmond first became SNP leader in 1990 but quit in 2000 before taking up the top job again in 2004.
He became first minister of the Scottish parliament in 2007 and obtained an overall majority in the 2011 Holyrood election.
He signed the Edinburgh Agreement for a referendum on Scottish independence in 2012 and has campaigned for a Yes vote on it until yesterday’s plebiscite.
He said: “In these circumstances you should judge whether the party, parliament, country would benefit from new leadership. I had 10 years as leader then a slight pause and another 10 years have just been completed. I had to make a judgement as to whether I am the best person to take it forward and I think others are.”
Prime Minister David Cameron today pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Salmond said the new SNP leader and first minister would “hold the [three party leaders] feet to the fire” over their pledges on devolution.
He said: “We lost the referendum vote but Scotland can still carry the political initiative. Scotland can still emerge as the real winner.
“For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die.”
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.”