Alex Salmond’s future as the First Minister of the Scottish National Party (SNP) could be cast in doubt after Scotland rejected independence in Thursday’s historic referendum.
More than 1.6 million Scots voted to break away from the UK, but this was not enough to secure the victory Mr Salmond’s Yes campaign has been fighting for.
The Scottish First Minister insists he will serve Scotland in whatever capacity voters choose, but the No victory in the referendum could see uncertainty about his leadership emerge - potentially giving rise to suggestions that the 59-year-old has taken the SNP as far as he can.
On Wednesday, an SNP source told the New Statesman Mr Salmond "could step down by November", to be possibly replaced by his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, in the event Scotland rejected independence.
There have also been calls for his resignation, with many angry independence was not achieved in this referendum.
Bye bye nationalism. Kicked into the long grass! Salmond should do the decent thing and resign.; cat (@irnbrudreaming) September 19, 2014
Darling is right, ‘needless divisions’ in this campaign. Only one man to blame for this. Resign now Salmond.; Scott (@SDF1872) September 19, 2014
Salmond has got to resign tomorrow. This is shocking for the yes. They were load but the silent no majority has clearly won.; Richard (@richie_1994wale) September 19, 2014
I take it Salmond will be saying something about his own position? Not going to leave the issue hanging in the air, surely?; David Jones (@DavidJonesMP) September 19, 2014
Yet while a majority of Scotland disagreed with his independence vision, many praised him for paving the way to the referendum and potentially bringing about huge change through the promise of more devolved powers.
Bookies slash odds on Salmond resigning today to 3/1. He shouldn't: he's had an amazing campaign.; Fraser Nelson (@FraserNelson) September 19, 2014
Earlier, Mr Salmond acknowledged defeat in the wake of a secure victory for the No campaign, telling supporters in Edinburgh: "Scotland has by a majority decided not at this stage to become an independent country.
"I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland."
However, Mr Salmond said the referendum and the high turnout had been a "triumph for the democratic process", saying the campaign had "touched sections of the community who have never before been touched by politics".
“Friends, sometimes it’s best to reflect where you are on a journey. Forty-five per cent, 1.6 million, of our fellow citizens voting for independence,” he said. “I don’t think that any of us, whenever we entered politics, would have thought such a thing to be either credible or possible.”
Scottish independence: Referendum results in pictures
Scottish independence: Referendum results in pictures
Chief Counting Officer Mary Pitcaithly on stage at the Highland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre with the final result of the Scottish Independence Referendum
Pro-union supporters celebrate as Scottish independence referendum results come in at a 'Better Together' event in Glasgow
A pro-independence supporter is pictured in George Square in Glasgow, following a defeat in the referendum on Scottish independence
Pro-independence supporters console each other in George Square in Glasgow
A pro-independence supporter is pictured in George Square in Glasgow
A disappointed 'Yes' campaigners reacting to Scotland's decision to stay in the union with a David Cameron mask at George Square in Glasgow
A dejected 'Yes' supporter in Edinburgh makes his way home in the early hours after Scotland voted decisively to reject independence and remain part of the Union
NO supporters celebrate at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh as the final results of the Scottish independence referendum are announced
No supporters celebrate their win over the Yes campaign at the Royal Highland centre during the Scottish referendum in Edinburgh
No supporters for the Scottish independence referendum celebrate a result at a No campaign event at a hotel in Glasgow
Pro-union supporters dance in celebration during a 'Better Together' referendum event in Glasgow
Anti-independence supporters react to an early strong result for the "Better Together" campaign at the Royal Highland Centre counting hall in Edinburgh
NO ballots are stacked on a table during the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh
Ballots arrive to be counted at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre during the Scottish referendum in Aberdeen
Ballot boxes arrive at the Highland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh after polls closed in the Scottish independence referendum
Scotland will be expecting Westminster to deliver on its promise to devolve more powers to Scotland “in rapid course”, he added. Mr Salmond also promised to meet his pledge in the 2012 Edinburgh Agreement to respect the result and work for the benefit of Scotland and the UK.
Speaking outside Downing Street today, David Cameron gave himself less than a year to draft legislation on devolving new powers to the UK.
In a remarkable statement in wake of this morning’s referendum result Mr Cameron said the question of “English votes for English laws” now required a “decisive answer” and promised a detailed plan by January.Reuse content