The Union ends here
12.05.05: THE SCOTS have voted overwhelmingly to leave the Union and to fight to reclaim their North Sea oil rights.
'There were times I never thought this day would come,' said the Scottish National party leader, Alex Salmond, in greeting the 64% vote in favour of full independence.
And he repeated his manifesto promise that the independent government will immediately start negotiating for all future rights to North Sea oil.
Ambassadors were immediately sent to Brussels and Washington. The financial community in Edinburgh welcomed the announcement by the government that it would be entering negotiations to take the Scottish pound into the euro.
The Princess Royal, the new Princess of Scotland, expressed the Queen's congratulations. Under the new arrangements, the Queen will continue to be Scotland's titular head of state.
Government sources said that William Hague, the British prime minister, had privately regarded full Scottish independence as inevitable following the SNP's strong showing in the 2002 general election.
'Committed as I am to the Union, I also recognise the democratic will of the people,' Hague told a meeting of Scottish Tories in Perth.
The Tory leader said he would be attending the inaugural meeting of the new Council for the Islands, including the leaders of Scotland and Northern Ireland's first minister.
Party strategists point out that removing the anti-Tory Scottish vote from the equation would make the Conservatives more difficult to unseat at Westminster.