Alex Salmond: “For me as a leader my time is nearly over…”

Following defeat in the Scottish Independence referendum, Scotland’s First Minister, and SNP leader, Alex Salmond has announced he will stand down as First Minister in November when a new SNP leader will be chosen.  More at the Guardian’s Scotland Independence live- blog

Adds Here is the official resignation statement, via the SNP, from Alex Salmond

I am immensely proud of the campaign which Yes Scotland fought and of the 1.6 million voters who rallied to that cause by backing an independent Scotland.

I am also proud of the 85% turnout in the referendum and the remarkable response of all of the people of Scotland who participated in this great constitutional debate and the manner in which they conducted themselves.

We now have the opportunity to hold Westminster’s feet to the fire on the ‘vow’ that they have made to devolve further meaningful power to Scotland. This places Scotland in a very strong position.

I spoke to the prime minister today and, although he reiterated his intention to proceed as he has outlined, he would not commit to a second reading vote by 27th March on a Scotland bill. That was a clear promise laid out by Gordon Brown during the campaign. The prime minister says such a vote would be meaningless. I suspect he cannot guarantee the support of his party.

But today the point is this. The real guardians of progress are not the politicians at Westminster, or even at Holyrood, but the energised activism of tens of thousands of people who I predict will refuse meekly to go back into the political shadows.

For me right now , therefore 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.

Therefore I have told the National Secretary of the SNP that I will not accept nomination to be a candidate for leader at the Annual Conference in Perth on 13th-15th November.

After the membership ballot I will stand down as First Minister to allow the new leader to be elected by due Parliamentary process.

Until then 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.

It has been the privilege of my life to serve Scotland as First Minister. But as I said often during the referendum campaign this is not about me or the SNP. It is much more important than that.

The position is this. We lost the referendum vote but can still carry the political initiative. More importantly Scotland can still emerge as the real winner.

And here’s an interesting snippet from the Q&A afterwards

Katie Allen adds:

Salmond, asked if his leaving now was a bigger blow to those yes voters already waking up to disappointment this morning, said he had asked himself whether a new leader would benefit the party and “my judgment is it would”.

He went on: “The base camp is not far off the summit now, but those who make that final move to the summit are not those who got us to the current position …

“It’s my judgment that someone else in leadership would be best placed to take that forward to the summit.”

He said he made the decision this morning.

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  • chrisjones2

    A sensible and honourbale thing to do. Now the dream is gone for the next 20 years its time for a new approach

    Perhaps Gerry and Peter will take the hint

  • Jurassic Parke

    Fair play to him- considering that Cameron would have tried to cling on to power for dear life had there been a yes vote.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I was never a big fan of Salmond but he led a terrific campaign. I’m sure nationalism in NI would love someone like him to lead them. 1.6 million Scots of all religion’s, social backgrounds etc uniting behind him. Pretty outstanding performance. Unionism in NI could also do with someone like him. I don’t see any political leader in NI or the ROI achieving what he did. He was close to achieving his dream and not one shot was fired. Thank you Scotland for showing us how to have a civilised debate on independence and the Union.

  • smcgiff

    Didn’t see that happening, thought he’d hang on because they did comparitively well.

    He has gone up in my estimation.

  • Cal Murray

    indeed Alan, meanwhile according to BBC Radio Scotland police have just charge a mini loyalist riot (with added fleggers)

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Perhaps Gerry and Peter will take the hint” The difference between Alex and them is that he is a decent, sincere man. And anyone used to reading my customary jaundiced opinions of politicians on Slugger will know what me saying this means.

  • Cal Murray

    LOL (in every sense) Scottish OO claiming there supporters are not with the loyalist/flegger rioters in George Sq,

  • Michael Henry

    Amazing the amount of people who brags a Politician once they resign- it’s like what you hear when some-one not to popular dies- he wasn’t a bad old fellow you know is all you hear-

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mature and gracious in defeat.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree completely Alan. Salmond is a talented, highly skilled and highly polished politician and has accomplished a lot getting things this far. I’d give my front teeth to see him running a government here.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Me, also!

  • Sir Rantsalot

    A bit of a surprise. But its been a surprising day. He’s taken the separatist thing as far as its likely to go. The only reason it got so much support is because of the current slump in western countries. When times are hard people tend to think they can do better by ditching ‘the other folk’. It has no basis in reality. In the real world that will dawn in the next few years, people in the west will see that they need to be in a block to be any way competitive with the massive eastern economies. Since we in the British Isles are so alike and with so much shared history, it makes no sense to separate for the sake of a stupid idea that we could be better off alone. Separate British Isles countries will be like flies on the windscreen of the 21st Century economic world. Better together to make a try of it.

  • MalikHills

    He has done the right thing and frankly had no option.

    This was the greatest chance for independence Scotland had for a generation and it’s gone, no amount of harking on about the 45% who voted “yes” changes the fact that this was the time in the tide of men for Scottish independence and Salmond shot his bolt. It will be a long time before the stars align again so favourably for an independence vote.

    Cameron and Miliband would both have had to go if it had been “yes”, it was “no” so Alex had to go.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    When I first arrived in Scotland many moons ago Salmond was an outside figure and the notion of an independent Scotland was not taken seriously.

    Now Salmond commands a lot of respect and independence came within ‘a baw hair’ (to use the local vernacular).

    Commendable and dignified that he’s resigning, he should be proud of what he achieved and I believe that this is more of a beginning than an end.

  • chrisjones2

    HO do you know they were all loyalists? Were they from NI? Where from?

  • chrisjones2

    Its a natural human sentiment …..you wont see much of it here

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Salmond may have lost his own race for independence and I commend him for his clear political abilities, but as an aside he may have “done for Labour” if Camo plays his cards right. Excluding Labour’s Scottish MP’s from English votes would hand the Commons to the Tories, irrespective of who wins the next election. The referendum has thrown up all manner of interesting possibilities. If, like me, you reckon, politically, a change is as good as a rest, then good times ahead. Cameron and his advisors have demonstrated again their political savvy – first, the only party to promise an EU referendum, now a big headache for Labour after he effectively used them to deliver a No vote. Curiouser and curiouser……