Forced marriage: Families hire bounty hunters to find fleeing victims

arranged marriage bride Mariam went through a forced marriage and believes her family hired bounty hunters to find her when she fled

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Families are hiring bounty hunters to track down the victims of forced marriage who try to run away, the BBC has learned.

A woman in Scotland has told how her parents paid a gang to trace her.

Mariam - not her real name - says the only reason she was not killed was her family did not want blood on their hands.

A record 83 honour-based violence cases were referred to Police Scotland in the past year.

Diana Nammi, head of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, said: "Victims live in constant fear.

"Families pay bounty hunters. It means you never know who the perpetrator is.

"We have cases where the family paid more than £100,000 to track someone down and kill them."

An estimated 8,000 women in the UK are forced into marriage each year.

The Police Scotland figures, seen by the BBC, are the first ever produced in this country.

In April alone this year, there were nine cases.

One support agency said its cases had doubled in the past year.

'Retrograde step'

The UK law to criminalise forced marriage comes into force on Monday 16 June.

But some lawyers and specialist agencies in Scotland have warned they believe this will drive victims underground.

"This is a retrograde step," said John Fotheringham, family law expert at BTO solicitors.

"It will dissuade victims from coming forward because it means criminalising your family.

Start Quote

What I notice about Scotland is that, although it will criminalise forced marriage, there isn't the same level of awareness as in England and Wales.”

End Quote Jasvinder Sanghera Founder of specialist UK agency Karma Nirvana

"The Scottish government had no choice because the UK government signed the Istanbul Convention which meant forced marriage had to be criminalised across the whole of the UK."

Others, including the Scottish government, believe this will send out a strong message and help change attitudes.

Scotland already has civil orders to prevent forced marriage and protect victims, introduced and widely welcomed in 2011. Breaching such an order is a criminal offence.

Police say that the criminalisation will send out a strong deterrent message.

Det Supt Willie Guild, of Police Scotland, said: "Our top priority is the safety of the individual.

"We're working closely with the procurators fiscal to ensure victims' views and concerns are taken into consideration.

'Lagging behind'

"We're aware of concerns and we're working closely with support agencies.

"However, our view is that this will send out a clear message that forced marriage is unacceptable."

Girijamba Polubothu, manager at Shakti Women's Aid in Edinburgh, said she fears Scotland does not yet have the support or specialist accommodation in place to criminalise forced marriage and warned that it will drive victims underground.

She added: "For some, the family members find there is no need for bounty hunters.

"Sometimes after six months, because there is a lack of support services, the victim goes back. They cannot cope with life.

"They have been in a golden cage and find that they don't know how to make breakfast or lunch."

Support agencies say the problem is getting worse and more women are coming forward because of growing awareness.

Jasvinder Sanghera, the founder of specialist UK agency Karma Nirvana, believes Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK.

She told the BBC: "What I notice about Scotland is that, although it will criminalise forced marriage, there isn't the same level of awareness as in England and Wales.

"There isn't that strategy that we have. Are they ready for this? Are staff trained?

Vulnerable people

"The calls that we get to our helpline in England from Scotland reveal that their access to support is very poor.

"And, sadly, there are real risk issues as well because of the lack of awareness and understanding.

"Scotland really needs to be thinking about how it's going to deal with victims and survivors."

Woman at window Victims who flee a forced marriage live in constant fear of being tracked down by their families

Cabinet Secretary for Equalities, Shona Robison, said: "Criminalising forced marriage gives an additional layer of protection for some of our most vulnerable people.

"It demonstrates that we are meeting our international obligations and ensures consistency of protection across the UK.

"This not only sends a strong message to victims but also to countries where forced marriage is prevalent and where there is a lack of a domestic legal infrastructure to protect women and girls."

She added: "There is no current evidence that criminalising forced marriage will dissuade victims from reporting it.

"In fact, knowing that perpetrators face a significant sanction should be empowering to victims and encourage them to seek help.

"The Scottish government provides funding to a range of organisations who can provide services including specialist support to people who are victims of forced marriage.

"We recognise that families using bounty hunters is a potential risk and that's why safety planning is a central part of all agencies' responses to forced marriage."

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Scotland Decides: SCOTLAND VOTES NO

  1. No 2,001,926
  2. Yes 1,617,989
After 32 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

  1.  
    13:31: Party time?

    About 04:30 in the morning is the time even the liveliest parties tend to wind down.

    The guests - some of them looking the worse for wear - begin to leave; the plates and champagne bottles are cleared away; the party balloons begin to shrink and sag.

    Better Together party

    But at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow, 04:40 BST was the time people started to stand up, fill (or re-fill) their glasses and turn their attention to the giant TV screens on the wall.

    Read Political Correspondent Ben Geoghegan's take on the celebrations of the Better Together campaign.

     
  2.  
    13:26: Analysis Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    I'm in the centre of Glasgow, one of the few cities to actually vote Yes but where people are coming to terms with a really quite decisive defeat - a defeat brought about it seems by the shy Nos. The silent majority, people who didn't put up posters, didn't wear badges, didn't talk to us journalists, but in the privacy of the polling booth finally expressed their true support for the Union.

    George Square in Glasgow

    For so long, politics in Scotland has been dominated by the issue of independence and it has hung over relations between London and Edinburgh, even soured relations between the two capitals. Now, all sides accept that is over and is over for a generation and maybe even longer.

    But if the referendum is over, its aftermath could yet prove as protracted, as difficult, because David Cameron will now not only have to live up to his promise to hand more powers to the Scottish Parliament, he has coupled that with a promise to devolve more powers to the rest of the UK and to the same timetable as handing over further powers to Scotland.

    What that means is he wants a new deal for England Wales and Northern Ireland by January of next year. That is an extraordinarily daunting, difficult and potentially divisive process.

     
  3.  
    @georgegalloway 13:25: George Galloway, Respect MP

    Respect MP George Galloway tweets: Labour in Scotland and everywhere must become real Labour again. We are ready to help them with that. To get the Tories out and the SNP too.

     
  4.  
    13:17: German reaction

    The German Foreign Minister believes the No result in the independence referendum is "a good decision for Scotland".

    Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: "People in Germany have followed with great interest the lively debate about independence in Scotland and in other parts of the United Kingdom. I have great respect for Great Britain's exemplary democratic culture as it was displayed in this referendum.

    Frank-Walter Steinmeier

    "The vote is clear: People want a strong Scotland within a strong Great Britain. I believe this a good decision for Scotland, Great Britain and for Europe.

    "We wish that the United Kingdom stays an powerful and engaged partner in Europe, and we are looking forward to the continuation of a close and trusting close partnership."

     
  5.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 13:15: Get Involved

    The number of tweets about the Referendum has dropped to under 55,000 between 12pm and 1pm. The figure is down 7% on the previous hour.

    A top tweet in the last hour is from William Hague: "PM @David_Cameron has asked me to draw up plans for a fair settlement for the rest of the UK alongside new powers for Scotland." which was retweeted 148 times.

    Lots of broadcasters, including CNN, the BBC and ABC, are topping the influencer chart.

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  6.  
    @NicolaSturgeon 13:11: Nicola Sturgeon, SNP deputy leader

    SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon tweets: Scotland has changed forever as a result of #indyref. There is no going back to business as usual. The demand for change must be heeded.

    SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon
     
  7.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 13:08: Referendum - Your Views

    Tom Watson tweets: Am I right in saying #indyref is the 1st time Scotland has got 2 teams to an international final?

    Josephine Patmore tweets: Please stop! If I wasn't bored before the vote I certainly am now, Scotland has decided, let's move along now pls.

     
  8.  
    13:04: Fallon reaction

    Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said the government hopes to get agreement on both Scottish devolution and a new deal for England and Wales and Northern Ireland before the next election.

    Mr Fallon told the Daily Politics: "Our aim is to get agreement on these things before the general election and that's what we're doing urgently now."

     
  9.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 13:02: Get Involved

    Tracey, Edinburgh: Heartbroken today. But this was not a fair fight. The self-serving Westminster government encouraged banks and businesses and the media to strike fear into the heart of the Scots. But we fell for it.

    Nigel Ashworth: What the UK now needs is a real northern powerhouse city to rival London and the south east. This referendum has been as much about Scotland versus the south east of England, which is creating so much unbalance in our island. I want to see all mainstream parties agree to a long-term plan to build a creative, manufacturing, scientific and entrepreneurial city in the North, Manchester or Glasgow would be good candidates for the UK to have a second world-class city.

    Darren, Kilmarnock: I cannot understand all the frustration from the Yes campaigners about people voting No because they are too risk-averse. These people complaining are probably the same ones who were up in arms when the banks were taking massive risks a few years ago. Voting No didn't mean that I think things are perfect - far from it. However, I think being in the UK and the EU is better economically and we are stronger as a result. Some of the hatred and abuse on social media today is despicable. It's time to move on and upwards Scotland!

     
  10.  
    12:52: Focus on Alex Salmond

    Alex Salmond has been a source of fascination for the world's media during the Scottish referendum campaign. But what makes the Scottish National Party leader tick?

    The BBC's Brian Wheeler has been finding out...

    Alex Salmond
     
  11.  
    Text 80295 12:51: Referendum - Your Views

    Mike, Perth: This is a 1979 moment. If we have another Poll Tax fiasco there will be another referendum & a 1997-style landslide for Yes. 2014 is a warning shot across the bows of the Establishment. One big opportunity now to make devolution work.

    Stuart Montgomery, Edinburgh: "I just want to dance all the way down the street."

    Elaine, Aberdeenshire: To Kevin in Dundee: this was not an election, it was a referendum and by the same token you cannot win a referendum by shouting down your opponents and not acknowledging the risks and uncertainties that may have resulted from a Yes vote. But, make no mistake, Westminster will not be given the benefit of the doubt in future if they back away or fail to deliver a better deal for the Scottish people.

     
  12.  
    12:47: Who is Lord Smith?
    Lord Smith of Kelvin

    Lord Smith of Kelvin has been appointed to oversee the process of devolving more powers to Scotland. But who is he?

     
  13.  
    12:44: International reaction

    More comment is appearing on European websites expressing relief mixed with unease at the outcome, observes BBC Monitoring.

    Commenting on the post-referendum scene, commentator Milan Vodicka says in Czech news website iDnes: "Now comes the British nightmare. It will be difficult to sleep in the same bed."

    Vodicka says the EU was saved from an unpleasant chain of events. "Since 1990, twenty-five new countries have been created in the world, but Britain is a different kettle of fish… It embodies a kind of timeless strength, tradition and permanence. If this oak had also split apart, it would have provided separatists across Europe and the whole world with very strong encouragement."

    Pic

    The popular Bosnian news portal Klix.ba chooses as its front-page headline: "David Cameron after referendum: Yes vote would have broken my heart"

    And an editorial on Hungarian news website Origo says: "The EU and Nato can relax."

    Read a round up of international reaction here.

     
  14.  
    12:41: English question?

    Labour MP Frank Field is urging the Labour leadership to come up with its own answer to the "English question" as soon as possible.

    The former minister says Labour needs to be "ahead of the curve" and has given a warning that the party can't afford to drag its heels or be seen as "anti-English".

    "If, by this weekend," he continues, "we're off the mark, saying that we'll bring forward our own proposals which satisfy equity requirements for England on the scale we're giving to Scotland, we could still appear as the proper representatives of England. If not, then I fear the future will be very difficult indeed."

     
  15.  
    12:36: Sinn Féin reaction

    Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams says: "The people of Scotland engaged in an informed and respectful debate and have made their choice. This decision demonstrates that the people are sovereign and that change is possible.

    "The union is no longer fixed, it is in the ownership of the people. It will now be up to the Westminster-based parties to make good on their promises of full fiscal and policy transfer to Scotland."

     
  16.  
    Text 80295 12:35: Referendum - Get Involved

    Jane: I was a No voter from the beginning, majority of Yes push their point too strong - this can have a negative effect.

    Philip, Glasgow: Happy, relieved and proud, but ready to hold out a hand of brotherhood to Yes voters.

    Kevin, Dundee: I'm very disappointed. Just shows you can win an election with a negative campaign of half truths and vague promises.

    James, London: Some of the rhetoric coming out of the disappointed Yes camp is a bit frustrating. Is it impossible to believe that the majority made an informed decision not out of fear, or of being risk-averse, but because having weighed up the options in a considered way, it's what they actually wanted?

     
  17.  
    12:27: Social vote

    Despite losing, Yes has dominated the conversation across multiple platforms on social media throughout the campaign. Over the last seven days, #VoteYes has been used 39,000 times compared to 13,000 for #VoteNo.

    Yes campaign balloons
     
  18.  
    12:26: The party's over... Philip Sim Tayside and Central reporter, BBC Scotland

    They spiked the fountains with bubble bath in anticipation of a party in what was dubbed Scotland's "Yes city", but this morning only a hardy few supporters of Scottish independence remained in Dundee's City Square.

    Yes supporters passing by described the result as "rubbish", "depressing", and even "a dark day for Scotland", although many say they are proud to belong to a city that backed independence with a strong majority of 13,000.

    A few days ago it was impossible to leave the square without a leaflet or a flyer from one campaign or the other, often from the canvassers buzzing around the Yes Scotland stall which had become a near-permanent installation.

    Dundee fountain after No

    And, while there's still the odd Yes badge in evidence, today the dreary weather reflects the flat feelings of many of the city's inhabitants.

    There's little jubilation on show from No voters either, with people on both sides saying they just want to move on and see what additional powers might be transferred north from Westminster.

     
  19.  
    Text 80295 12:24: Referendum - Your Views

    Alex, Broomhill: I feel cheated. All we wanted was a chance to have a more level playing field and away from the increasing gap between the have's and have not's. Don't like seeing children in extreme poverty or the existence of food banks.

    Stephen, Blantyre: The issue being that Scotland is divided can change by continuing to make our voice heard, but not divided, instead united. We need to continue to keep the people's voice loud for changes that suit the people, which we are all united on, not necessarily what Westminster decide but what we decide. We can't leave it to politicians, we have seen and heard the power of people, we feel empowered because we are. Come on Scotland, don't stop now.

    Trevor Douglas, Bonkle, North Lanarkshire: I'm having a UK party tonight, with a big Union Jack cake to celebrate. I felt sick all day yesterday and couldn't sleep last night with worry. So glad it's all over. Thank you silent majority.

    Arthur: I feel resigned to the inevitable understanding that Scots are essentially risk-averse. I'm also concerned that this was a vote for the past rather than a vote for the future.

     
  20.  
    12:19: Salmond 'safe' Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    My sense is that Alex Salmond's position is safe - for now. If he had been pushed down to 40% or below that then I think it would be a very, very different situation.

     
  21.  
    @stevebargeton 12:18: Steve Bargeton, Deputy Editor, The Courier

    Steve Bargeton, Deputy Editor, The Courier, tweets: Speculation growing about future of @AlexSalmond. Scheduled press conference being put back and back, we hear. #indyref

     
  22.  
    @HonJohnBaird 12:17: John Baird, Canadian Foreign Minister

    Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird tweets: The Scottish people have voted to remain within a strong United Kingdom. Canada welcomes this decision.

     
  23.  
    12:15: 'Realign politics'

    Times journalist David Aaronovitch, also on the Daily Politics show, says Scotland doesn't need a nationalist party any more.

    "It almost certainly needs a realignment of its own politics so it can get on with the business of discussing what its own priorities are," he adds.

     
  24.  
    12:14: Reflections from the Borders Giancarlo Rinaldi South Scotland reporter, BBC Scotland news website

    There had been optimism in the Yes camp that they could make a real fight of it in the south of Scotland but, in the end, the outcome was more one-sided than they had hoped.

    The vote was almost two to one against Scottish independence with an impressively high turnout - in line with the rest of the country. Proximity to the border almost certainly played its part in a strong majority for No in both the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

    That close relationship with England was summed up by one voter I overheard leaving a polling station in Dumfries. "I cannae even understand why we're voting on this," he was telling a friend. "We've been friends with them for years."

     
  25.  
    12:13: Northern Ireland reaction

    Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson will speak at Stormont Castle at 12:30 - we'll bring you his reaction as soon as we have it.

     
  26.  
    12:12: Cameron's authority 'eaten away'

    Journalist Anne McElvoy tells the Daily Politics show it was a very good result for the No campaign when the momentum had seemed to be with the Yes camp.

    She says two years ago most people thought the result would certainly be a No but "what has happened is that the authority that Mr Cameron had has been eaten away as this has gone along and now he has to regain that".

     
  27.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 12:10: Get Involved

    Mark Billingham: "Hearts and Mind". I am so pleased that minds won over hearts!

    Colin Holce from Warrington, Cheshire: Seems like the winners today are the money markets who bet on the pound given the percentage swing. It amazes me how quickly this was all put together given that we are still waiting for our referendum on Europe.

    Helen Edmunds: I was dreading the news this morning and reluctant to look at it. However, I have read that Scotland has rejected independence. I know there are many who will be disappointed but we are an island nation, we will retain our cultural and linguistic differences, but will be side by side united. More devolved power to each of our nations but there for each other. Thank you to the No voters.

    Gary McAlonan: Well done Better Together. I am pro-independence for Scotland and must admit my disappointment at the outcome and the lost opportunity. But moving forward, I would now like to see all of the people in Scotland unite to build a better, fairer, more prosperous country. We must all make sure we don't let Westminster forget how close they came to losing this brilliant country. Keep them accountable now and forever.

     
  28.  
    12:09: How close was the vote?
    Map

    See more of the result in maps.

     
  29.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 12:05: Get involved

    There have been just under 60,000 tweets about the Referendum between 11am and 12pm. The figure is down 19% on the previous hour.

    Top tweet in the last hour is from The Economist. They tweeted a graph: "How Scotland voted, council by council." Retweeted nearly 1,000 times.

    Quite a lot of photos of The Queen are being shared. One in particular shows her Majesty being shown something on a computer screen with the tweet: "update my status: STILL QUEEN OF SCOTLAND" #indyref

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  30.  
    11:58: Thoughts from Aberdeen... Ken Banks BBC Scotland North East reporter

    In Aberdeen, many of the saltire flags which had been in evidence in the run-up to the count were no longer in evidence on Friday morning. The streets also seemed strangely quiet. One flag, however, could still be seen flying in Wallfield Place in the city's Rosemount area.

    There were also still some "Yes" stickers on windows and lampposts.

    The vast wealth associated with the North Sea oil and gas industry was one of the fiercest areas of debate during the referendum campaign.

    Aberdeen post No vote

    So, it was perhaps ironic there were reports yesterday of offshore workers being unable to fly home to polling day to cast their vote because of weather issues.

    However, the north east of Scotland delivered decisive "No" votes so it may have been academic whatever way any such votes would have been cast.

     
  31.  
    @bbcdavideades 11:56: David Eades, BBC World News presenter

    BBC World News presenter David Eades tweets: Bernard Jenkin MP (Con) tells me the end of the referendum is just start of a hugely contentious battle for all nations in the UK. #indyref

     
  32.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 11:54: Get Involved

    @rj_gallagher tweets: Post #indyref today in Glasgow, George Square:

    'Too many sheep in Scotland' chalked on pavement in Glasgow
     
  33.  
    11:52: 'Read all about it...'
    The Times

    The Times has printed a 06:00 referendum edition. Read a full round-up of the papers here.

     
  34.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 11:51: Get Involved

    Judith Graham from Ripon, Yorkshire: The 1.5 million people who voted 'YES' are now dominating our politics. We must thank them for waking up the English.

    Douglas Cady in Devon: Following this morning's news we are now faced with pouring increased funding to Scotland at our expense with the knowledge that 45% of the recipient's don't want anything to do with us. When do the remainder of the UK vote for whether we want Scotland as part of the UK?

    Richard Hill from Glasgow: Mr Salmond must resign. The failure to deliver his defining political aim make his position as First Minister untenable.

    Geoffrey: We in Cape Town, where the are many Scottish descendants, feel a little depressed by the outcome. The opportunity for a new start and entrepreneurial renewal, for which Scots are known, has petered out. No more 'Scotland the Brave' but rather 'Scotland the fearties' and it would appear that Scotland was again, as in 1700, 'bought and sold for Rowling's Gold'.

     
  35.  
    11:48: 'Togetherness theme'

    Former Conservative leader Michael Howard says the issue has now been "resolved for a lifetime". "The Better Together campaign has won - and I hope that togetherness will now be the theme of what happens in the discussions that are going to take place on more powers for Scotland and the rebalancing of the United Kingdom."

    Michael Howard
     
  36.  
    11:46: Royal reaction Nicholas Witchell, royal correspondent, BBC News Balmoral

    Balmoral seems very remote and cut off, but of course the Royal Family has been following this minutely.

    Reaction - one word, relief. Relief that's it's over, relief that Scotland has decided what it has. The Queen undoubtedly, privately would have felt immense sadness had the United Kingdom been split up. Relief too for her officials who had been starting to contemplate some very tricky constitutional issues.

    Once all the politicians have said what they wish to say, I think this afternoon it is expected that The Queen will issue a short written statement.

    It seems logical to surmise that after this really quite divisive campaign she will concentrate on the vote, the decision that Scotland has taken, and express the view that Scotland will now go on.

     
  37.  
    11:42: Nessie said Yessie? Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    In Inverness, the fast food outlets were doing a roaring trade in early morning sales of caffeine.

    Everyone seemed to have a takeaway cup in hand as they briskly walked to work, maybe needing the jolt of coffee or tea to wake them up after staying up all night to watch the referendum results.

    There can be no doubt that this city, and other places across the Highlands and Islands, have been gripped by the debate.

    Inverness post No

    Countless lamp-posts, bus stops, windows of houses and flats have been plastered with placards, stickers and posters for "Yes", and in the later stages of the campaigns material saying "No Thanks".

    Even the Loch Ness Monster was drawn into the debate. A wooden sculpture of the legendary beast, a landmark on a roundabout on Inverness' Dores Road, has had a sign on it that saying: "Yessie".

     
  38.  
    11:39: How the final result looks
    Final result graphic
     
  39.  
    11:33: 'Huge responsibility'

    Dominique Minten, in Belgian daily De Standaard, says extra powers for Scotland will have to come "otherwise the call for independence will return immediately".

    De Standaard

    Minten added: "There is therefore a huge responsibility on the shoulders of British Prime Minister Cameron to carry out reforms."

     
  40.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 11:32: Get Involved

    Alan Weir from Falkirk: Great that so many have engaged in the vote. Sad that just under half of the nation will be disappointed with the result. Hope that we can all move on stronger and together as a nation, regardless of the result.

     
  41.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 11:31: Referendum - Get Involved

    Left Peggers tweets: Disappointed in my home town, Aberdeen, today.

    Chris Tolmie tweets: The UK should allow 16 & 17-year-olds to vote in all elections in the future to balance ageing population #bbcindyref #indyref

     
  42.  
    11:28: Wales 'not second fiddle'

    First Minister Carwyn Jones says Wales "cannot and will not play second fiddle" as the new UK constitution is decided.

    The Welsh FM says David Cameron has made no attempt to contact him about putting Wales "at the centre of the debate" over a new UK constitution. He added that his office was going to try to speak to the prime minister later today, but he knows "it's a busy day".

     
  43.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 11:27: Referendum - Your Views

    @JohnTowney tweets: Due to the decision to delegate Scotland with more power, its possible that England would be better off if Scotland said 'YES'.

     
  44.  
    Text 80295 11:26: Referendum - Get Involved

    Andy Stewart: The cage was open but the rampant lion appears to have become too timid after being caged for so long. A Norwegian friend, resident in Scotland, sadly said this morning that she's living in a nation filled with too many sheep!

    Allan, West Linton: Feeling very relieved, I was on the fence then veered to the No camp, but when I voted I had a moment of madness & went for Yes. I followed my heart instead of my head. I was happy when I heard the result.

    Sheila, Falkirk: From what I've heard, No voters seem to have voted from a purely personal point of view. I voted Yes, willing to take some difficulties, in the hope that we would create a better society for all. I'm gutted.

    John: Remember Scotland, when the UK returns the Tories next year at the general election - you did vote for it!

     
  45.  
    11:23: Musings from Italy

    Italian dailies are musing about how the meaning of "United Kingdom" has changed, BBC Monitoring observes.

    Fabio Cavalera, reporting for Italy's Corriere Della Sera from Edinburgh, says: "The nationalists have been defeated but the United Kingdom today is different. The outcome of the vote will have major constitutional and political implications. Secession is averted, but the balance of power will undergo a profound change. There will be another United Kingdom."

    Corriere Della Sera

    Alessandra Rizzo, reporting for Italy's La Stampa from Edinburgh, says other European separatist leaders were "rooting for the Yes side" - among them, Italy's Northern League leader, Matteo Salvini, who was in Scotland for the vote...

     
  46.  
    11:22: Business reaction

    Businesses have spoken of "relief" over Scotland's rejection of independence, but say the No vote is just the beginning of a period of change. Read more here.

     
  47.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 11:21: Get involved

    There has been a dip in the number of tweets about the Referendum between 10am and 11am. Just over 66,000 which is down 28% on the previous hour.

    Top tweet in the last hour is from bookmakers Paddy Power. They tweeted: "Familiar feeling this morning as Scotland again fail to make it out of the group." Retweeted over 500 times.

    One of the most shared photos is a picture of 'Scotland's' Facebook status update from 'it's complicated' to 'in a relationship'.

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  48.  
    11:19: Morning after the night before Angie Brown BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

    The drizzly damp weather summed up the mood in Edinburgh's streets as the capital city woke up to a No vote to Scottish independence.

    The Scottish Parliament, which had hundreds of campaigners outside only hours earlier, was deserted. The only signs of life were tourists taking pictures and the floodlights of the neighbouring media tent.

    The parliament seemed stubbornly quiet against a backdrop of an Arthur's Seat, which was shrouded in mist.

    Scottish Parliament

    Around the corner in the Royal Mile, some late night supporters were drinking coffee in cafes and tourists carried on their sightseeing tours huddled under umbrellas and ponchos.

    Campaign posters and notices have been taken out of shops and there were no saltires hanging from flat windows.

    A passerby said although he had voted No he felt a tinge of disappointment as he walked through Edinburgh's street to get to work as the "excitement had gone".

    Everything seemed to be back to normal.

     
  49.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 11:16: Referendum - Get Involved

    Patrick Stuart Young from Berne tweets: Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have my admiration, people of real guts. They stood up to be counted. They did not lose. Scotland chose.

     
  50.  
    11:14: Thoughts from Spain

    Madrid's El Pais, like many other papers in Spain, is leading with the news of the Scottish referendum - and has a banner headline that reads 'Scotland Rejects Independence'.

    In an opinion piece, one of the paper's columnists Jose Ignacio Torreblanca says that the No vote won because after running a poor campaign, it delivered a more coherent message in the last two weeks in large part due to the role played by the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

    But the Barcelona based pro-Catalan independence paper, El Punt Avui, strikes a different chord.

    It says that regardless of the result Scotland is a completely different and more empowered country than it was in 2012 when the referendum was announced. The Scottish nationalists, the paper says, now have more leverage to gain more power from Westminster.

     
  51.  
    11:12: Reaction in Germany

    In the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, Stefan Kornelius praises the "No" vote as a "good decision" arguing the problems of the modern world cannot be solved with "new borders".

    BBC Monitoring observes Mr Kornelius said: "Segregation and withdrawing into your little allotment may give citizens a feeling of certainty in a confusing world, but this world demands of its highly interconnected and interdependent states less segregation and a better division of labour."

    Suddeutsche Zeitung

    Meanwhile, Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger - writing in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - believes the result will give Scots the "best of both worlds" - a vote for change and more federalism, but without "reducing the United Kingdom to dwarf status on the European and international stage".

    The tabloid Bild's headline today was "Britain stays great!"

     
  52.  
    11:11: Wales reaction

    Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says she is "disappointed" with the result - but Wales's case for more devolved powers remains strong.

    "We don't have the financial settlement that we need, we don't have the fiscal powers that we need, we don't have powers over things like energy and the criminal justice system," she added.

    "That's the next step for Wales now. There's great appetite for more independence, more devolution for Wales from people out there and it's essential that we make sure that we get Wales's needs met through this process."

    First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, is giving a press conference now.

     
  53.  
    @bbclaurak 11:07: Laura Kuenssberg, Chief Correspondent, BBC Newsnight

    In George Square where Yes campaigners have gathered night after night - mood pretty miserable and empty. Daubed on the ground - 'Glasgow said Yes' - Scotland's biggest city did vote for independence.

    Council workers already arrived to clean off the pavement where Yea slogans have been written.

     
  54.  
    @faisalislam 11:05: Faisal Islam, Sky News Political Editor

    Faisal Islam, Sky News Political Editor tweets: Labour conference going to be fun. West Lothian? Balls & fiscal devolution? Not carrying Glasgow? Host city wanting full spending autonomy.

     
  55.  
    @BenSmithBBC 11:04:

    BBC Journalist Ben Smith tweets: #indyref not the end for Scotland/UK. It has triggered what will become most fascinating period of politics in years.

     
  56.  
    11:02: Key quotes

    Key figures have been giving their reaction to the result throughout the morning. Here's a reminder of some of the best quotes:

    Better Together leader Alistair Darling is congratulated by Labour leader Ed Miliband at a rally in Glasgow
    • First Minister Alex Salmond: "Let us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short. Let us dwell on the distance we have travelled and have confidence that the movement will take this nation forward as one nation"
    • Prime Minister David Cameron: "The people of Scotland have spoken. It is a clear result. They have kept our country of four nations together. Like millions of other people, I am delighted"
    • Better Together leader Alistair Darling: "We've taken on the argument and we've won. The silent have spoken."
     
  57.  
    11:01: 'New era'

    Business Secretary Vince Cable says the vote is a "good outcome".

    "But it also opens up a new era where we have got to settle the devolution issue - in fairly short order - and address the particular issues that are then left in relation to England."

     
  58.  
    10:59: As the dust settles... Nick Eardley, BBC News Glasgow

    Buchanan Street feels very different this morning. On Wednesday, it was full of campaigners, with person after person wearing a badge or top declaring their allegiance.

    Yes campaigners were jubilant as they stood outside the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to hear Blair Jenkins, Yes Scotland chief executive, declare his confidence they would win. This morning, under grey skies, there is no sign of the referendum.

    All the Yes badges have gone and posters have been packed away; not a single person wearing a campaign badge is visible.

    Even a pro-independence sticker, put on a statue of Donald Dewar, the architect of devolution, has been removed.

    George Sq

    A few people say they are happy at the result. One woman says the nature of the No campaign means its supporters are less likely to be vocal in their opinions.

    And it feels that way.

    A few minutes away is George Square (pictured above). For the last three nights, thousands of Glaswegians have gathered there to show their support for independence. On Friday morning, a couple dozen remain; the ecstasy of a vibrant campaign replaced with desolation.

    "Business as usual" perhaps doesn't need the same sort of fanfare. Central Glasgow is back to normal...

     
  59.  
    10:56: Daily Politics Show

    We'll get #indyref result reaction from @BlairJenkinsYes @blairmcdougall on Fri #bbcdp with @afneil starting at 12:00.

    Blair Jenkins (left) and Blair McDougall
     
  60.  
    10:51: Church says 'we are one Scotland'

    Right Reverend John Chalmers, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said he was proud of the spirit of reconciliation shown by Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling this morning.

    Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, he said: "What I have heard this morning has been wonderful. As a minister, I feel for those who feel dispirited, but I think the words that they have heard from leaders of both campaigns have been reassuring, restrained and they have spoken about working together.

    "I think that is where we are now and I am looking forward to that process of working together."

    Rt Rev Chalmers added it is time to take down the Yes and No signs from windows and lampposts and "make it more obvious we are one Scotland".

     
  61.  
    10:50: Labour debate

    BBC political correspondent Iain Watson has been looking at how the Labour Party will deal with the No vote fallout. The prospect of more powers for Scotland is opening up a debate within party about whether a more distinctly English voice needs to be heard, he writes on his blog.

     
  62.  
    @davidwalliams 10:47: David Walliams, Comedian

    David Walliams, Comedian, tweets: I am so pleased Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom. Wales, don't get any ideas please.

     
  63.  
    10:46: 'Dejected' over Punch & Judy

    Writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, who had campaigned for a Yes vote, says she feels a "bit dejected", adding: "It's the first day I haven't had a badge on so it feels like a new start for sure."

    She says of the campaign: "Part of the tedium that has been created by this campaign was a kind of Tweedledum, Tweedledee mechanism - where one politician becomes Punch the other automatically becomes Judy."

     
  64.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 10:45: Get Involved

    Iain Spowart from Aberdeenshire: I'm pleased with the result. Alex Salmond was very gracious and I agree with his statement that it is now time for Scotland to work together for the future, for a strong Scotland within a strong union, and fair powers for Scotland, as well as England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

     
  65.  
    @GrahamGGrant 10:40: Graham Grant, Home Affairs Editor, Scottish Daily Mail

    Graham Grant, Home Affairs Editor, Scottish Daily Mail tweets: Roughly equal numbers lining up outside the Apple store in Glasgow at 5am for new iPhone as there were in 'Independence Square.' #indyref

     
  66.  
    10:38: Voters' views

    The BBC News Channel has been speaking to some voters.

    Sandra voted No: "I was terribly worried because I feel that united we stand, divided we fall." She adds that she never waivered in her decision.

    Taylor voted Yes: "I was a No to begin with but it was actually my flatmate and my family and those around me who [persuaded me] and [when] I saw the facts and figures I changed to a Yes." She says the rest of her family also changed to Yes voters.

     
  67.  
    10:33: Cox: Westminster 'disconnect'

    Scottish actor Brian Cox, who campaigned heavily for a Yes vote, says he is disappointed but has had "the time of my life".

    Actor Brian Cox

    "It's been the most extraordinary two weeks... I've loved it, I am so proud of our country.

    "People have shown that social democracy really works and "it's a triumph as far as that's concerned", he says.

    "We have shaken the powers that be in Westminster, I think they should move now," he adds, saying there remains a "serious disconnect" between the political Establishment and the rest of the country.

     
  68.  
    10:30: Pound weakens

    The pound has been in retreat since about 09:00. Overnight it was trading well above $1.65 but it's now a little below $1.64. "Some devolution uncertainty will remain, distracting investors' attention from superior UK growth relative to Europe," said Adam Myers, currency strategist at Credit Agricole.

    Pound dollar
     
  69.  
    10:27: International reaction

    A number of leading Indian news websites are running their own "live page" on the Scotland results, and some fear there will be calls for a similar referendum in Indian-administered Kashmir and the country's north-eastern region, BBC Monitoring observes.

    Kashmir separatist leader Umar Farooq has demanded that the people of Kashmir should be given a chance for a referendum, the Mail Today newspaper reports. Other activists from the region have echoed Mr Farooq's call.

     
  70.  
    @BBCGavinHewitt 10:26: BBC News Europe Editor Gavin Hewitt

    BBC News Europe Editor Gavin Hewitt tweets: Spanish PM Rajoy - mindful of Catalonia - says 'we are very happy Scotland is staying with us'. Calls it positive 'for integration of EU.'

     
  71.  
    @DanBilefsky 10:19: New York Times reporter Dan Bilefsky

    New York Times reporter Dan Bilefsky tweets: Interesting: On #Scottish "No" vote, the pollsters got it wrong, while the betting markets were right on the mark

     
  72.  
    10:15: Oil and Gas

    Bob Collier, Chief Executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, told Good Morning Scotland that a No vote had "not entirely" alleviated uncertainty from the oil and gas industry overnight.

    "We need the government to apply the results of the Wood report," he said. "We need to make sure the right kind of fiscal regime is available off shore to get the maximum possible return for the whole country."

    Mr Collier added there has been uncertainty for a while, first with the ballot question, then the issues of currency and the EU, and now with what additional devolution means.

     
  73.  
    @TVKev 10:10: Kevin O'Sullivan, Daily Mirror columnist

    Kevin O'Sullivan, Daily Mirror columnist tweets: Respect to Andy Murray for having the courage to declare his support for independence...

     
  74.  
    10:08: What the papers say

    While papers went to press before the results of Scotland's independence referendum were declared, the story is nonetheless on front pages.

    Papers

    Many papers produced late editions to carry the news that Scots voted No in the historic independence referendum.

     
  75.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 10:02: Get involved

    There have been more than 85,000 tweets about the Referendum between 9am and 10am this morning. That's a drop of 35% on the previous hour.

    Comedy writer Armando Iannucci's tweet is one of the most-shared tweets in the last hour: "84.6% One way to unite today would be for every Scot to wear that number as a badge of pride. An extraordinary turnout. #indyref" was retweeted nearly 500 times.

    Actor Simon Pegg is currently one of the most influential accounts.

    The Guardian's result graphic is amongst the more shared photos.

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  76.  
    09:56: 'Rocked to the core'

    Entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter told Good Morning Scotland he was really proud Scotland had "rocked the political establishment to its core".

    He added: "That's got to be good. I think the people have shown that we want change. We want change from our politicians, and that is really important. It is fantastic day for democracy."

     
  77.  
    09:51: A view from France

    BBC Monitoring has been looking at reaction to the vote in the European press. French daily Le Monde's London correspondent Eric Albert says that the voters faced two very similar options.

    "What if the result of the referendum on independence in Scotland is not all that important, after all? Despite the victory of the 'no' with 55.42% of the vote, the Scottish nation will move away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

    le Monde reports on Scotland's referendum

    "Behind the rhetoric and appearances, the Scottish effectively faced two very similar options: on the one hand, independence 'light', while staying very close to the rest of the United Kingdom; on the other, maximum decentralization... which will give it far-reaching autonomy."

    #ScotlandDecides and #Ecosse were among top Twitter trends in France this morning,

     
  78.  
    @davieclegg 09:44: David Clegg, Political Editor, Daily Record

    David Clegg, Political Editor, Daily Record tweets: To take support for Indy to 45% is a remarkable achievement for Alex Salmond and the SNP. Woe betide the UK parties if they don't deliver.

     
  79.  
    @geraldhowarth 09:44: Sir Gerald Howarth

    Sir Gerald Howarth, Conservative MP for Aldershot tweets: Major constitutional changes must not be rushed. Appeasing Scottish Nationalism is what brought us to the brink of disaster #Union

     
  80.  
    09:43: 'Scotland 2.0'

    Asked what additional powers he would like to see in the Scottish Parliament, Sir Tom added: "Tax-raising powers and further devolved powers over social security.

    "I think the SNP government have done a very good job over the past while at governing Scotland and I think Scotland is a better place because of it. Now, I think it is time to move on to Scotland 2.0"

     
  81.  
    Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament 09:40: Result 'is a sound decision'

    The Scottish people have voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. First of all I welcome that this vote took place within a democratically agreed process inside of the country.

    I believe that, in a time when sticking together has proven its worth in meeting the challenges we are facing in all walks of life, this is a sound decision.

     
  82.  
    09:36: Sir Tom on 'devomax'

    Business and entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, speaking on Good Morning Scotland, said: "I've listened to Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling speak this morning and they both accepted the result with humility, which I think is really important now - that we have got to being Scotland back together.

    "I've always been uncomfortable that in Scotland we can spend the money but we can't raise the money," Sir Tom said.

    "I think that is a lopsided balance sheet, and it causes resentment. I fully understand why people in the rest of the UK would say 'well, hang on a minute'.

    "Therefore, I would like to see us having more power to raise our money and spend it. That's accountability, and that's grown up devolution."

     
  83.  
    09:32: Miliband outlines 'our mission'

    Labour leader Ed Miliband pays tribute to Alistair Darling, saying he "played one of the most important roles in keeping this country together".

    Change begins today, he tells Labour activists in Glasgow.

    "We will deliver on stronger powers, stronger Scottish powers and a stronger Scotland."

    The next eight months are about "how we change our country together," he continues.

    "Let us be able to tell our children and our grandchildren that we did not just keep our country together, we changed our country together. That is our mission."

     
  84.  
    09:31: More powers

    Mr Darling on more powers for Scotland: "We must at all costs see that implemented on the timescale that was agreed."

     
  85.  
    09:30: 'Emphatic answer'

    Alistair Darling, speaking at a Labour rally, says: "All my adult life the question has been around us... and at 10 past six this morning, that question was answered emphatically."

     
  86.  
    09:26: English laws Andrew Neil Presenter, The Daily Politics

    Re English votes for English laws, Labour must work out how to save huge in-built advantage without being depicted by Tories as anti-English

     
  87.  
    09:25: Miliband to speak

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has just arrived at a party rally in Glasgow where he will shortly give a speech.

     
  88.  
    09:24: Striking pictures
    Pic

    Striking images have been coming in from around the country. See more here.

     
  89.  
    09:23: 'Get my feet up for a wee while' Chief Returning Officer Mary Pitcaithly

    "I'm tired. It's gone very well and it's been very smooth. All of the counts have been very good and we were able to give a result in the same kind of timeframe we had promised.

    Chief Returning Officer Mary Pitcaithly

    "It's been a long night but people are waking up to find out there has been a clear result.

    "I'm going to try to have some breakfast and then get my feet up for a wee while before going back into the office.

    "I'm delighted that it passed off, by and large, without any incident. People were very good natured throughout the day; if they had to queue at all they were very short queues.

    "The comedy, camaraderie and friendship people were showing to each other in the queues was great to see."

     
  90.  
    09:19: Lamont praises youth

    Johann Lamont, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, thanks party members - and particularly young activists - for helping to secure the No result. "This was a huge moment for Scottish Labour... much of this campaign was driven by the Scottish Labour party," she tells the Labour rally in Glasgow.

    She goes on to say "this is a time to savour but not to be triumphalist". It is vital change now happens and calls for action not simply words, she says.

     
  91.  
    09:17: Tax and benefits

    Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom but Scots can still expect significant changes in the taxes they will pay and the welfare benefits they will receive, writes Personal Finance Reporter Brian Milligan.

    Personal finance
     
  92.  
    Gary Lineker 09:16: Referendum reaction

    Football pundit Gary Lineker tweets: GREAT Britain!

     
  93.  
    09:14: UK to play 'leading role' Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General

    I fully respect the choice that the people of Scotland have made in yesterday's referendum.

    I welcome Prime Minister Cameron's statement that the United Kingdom will go forward as a united country.

    The United Kingdom is a founding member of NATO, and I am confident that the United Kingdom will continue to play a leading role to keep our Alliance strong.

     
  94.  
    Sadiq Khan and Iain Macwhirter 09:13: Referendum reaction

    Sadiq Khan MP tweets: Most important vote in generation saw 1000s of 16 & 17 year olds vote in #indyref How can we deny them vote in General Election?

    Iain Macwhirter, political commentator Herald & Sunday Heraldtweets: Scots thought this was about their future - turns out it was all about setting up an English parliament.

     
  95.  
    Duncan Mavin and John Rentoul 09:11: Referendum reaction

    Duncan Mavin, Europe Finance Editor, Wall Street Journal, tweets: #indyref raised big questions about UK governance. For investors, politics likely to remain messy and unpredictable.

    John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday columnist tweets: Opinion polls underestimated No vote by 2 or 3 points. How much will shy Tories be worth in general election next year?

     
  96.  
    09:09: 'Work together'

    Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has just released a statement. He says: "I hope all parties will now accept this vote was fair, legal and decisive and we have settled the question in a way which means we will not keep coming back to it.

    Alistair Carmichael

    "The decisive choice of people in Scotland to remain part of the UK is the beginning of a new, stronger country for us all.

    "It comes at the end of a hard-fought two year process which has raised important issues for Scotland and engaged a huge number of people in the debate.

    "We will continue that process by working together as one country, across the whole political spectrum, making life better for the people who live and work here.

    "It's also clear that the people of Scotland have overwhelmingly voted for a stronger Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom based on the cross-part plan for more powers. That work will begin today and we will deliver it for everyone."

     
  97.  
    09:06: Tax, spending & welfare James Landale Deputy political editor

    The Downing Street constitutional declaration - as it will become known - marks the start of what potentially could be massive constitutional change.

    In particular, the prime minister has promised to give English MPs a greater say over legislation that affects England. He made clear this would cover the same issues over which Scotland will have greater control - tax, spending and welfare. And the changes will be agreed at the same pace with draft legislation by January.

    But David Cameron did not spell out the detail, leaving a policy vacuum that will now be filled by Conservative MPs and an army of constitutional experts and think tanks. Everything from a full English parliament to complicated plans for English grand committees will be discussed.

    The risk for the PM is that he loses control of this debate.

    Full blog.

     
  98.  
    09:05: Analysis John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    Total number of votes cast:

    Yes - 1,617,989

    No - 2,001,926

    3,429 rejected papers - want of an official mark 16, voting in favour of both 691, voter identified 168, unmarked or void for uncertainty 2,554.

    This means that Yes won 45% of the vote and No 55% of the vote exactly in line with the BBC prediction at just after 05:00.

     
  99.  
    Tweet @bbcscotlandnews 09:03: Get involved

    There have been nearly 130,000 tweets about the Referendum between 8am and 9am this morning. That's a dip of 22% on the previous hour.

    One of the most shared tweets in the past hour has come from comedian Frankie Boyle: "To be fair, I've always hated Scotland" retweeted nearly 3,000 times.

    A transcript of David Cameron's speech is amongst the more shared photos.

    You can join the conversation via #indyref, tweet @BBCPolitics or go to the BBC News page on Facebook.

     
  100.  
    09:00: Continuing coverage Gerry Holt BBC News

    BBC One's results programme has just ended - but stay with us for continuing coverage and all the latest reaction.

     

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