Aberdeenshire says NO to independence

Votes from around Aberdeenshire arrive at the AECC for counting
Votes from around Aberdeenshire arrive at the AECC for counting

After two and a half years of intense political campaigning, canvassing and public meetings, Scotland has voted to remain part of the United Kingdom.

In line with the nationwide result, Aberdeenshire voted No, despite frenetic Yes campaign activity in the North-east.

Vote counting is underway at the AECC

Vote counting is underway at the AECC

The Aberdeenshire count took place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, beginning shortly after polls closed at 10pm.

Staff worked through the night and the final announcement was made at 5.55am.

With an incredible turnout of 87.2%, Aberdeenshire voted by a margin of 60-40% to stay in the Union – a result which was met with jubilation from supporters of the Better Together campaign.

A total of 102 votes were rejected for a number of reasons including votes in favour of both answers, writing or marks by which the voter could be identified, unmarked votes and others were made void for uncertainty.

Councillors Charles Buchan and Lenny Pirie at the vote count

Councillors Charles Buchan and Lenny Pirie at the vote count

Around 1,000 people made up the Aberdeenshire Referendum Team, with 700 staffing polling stations across the region and a further 300 involved in the count.

Commenting before the result, Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said: “The excitement on the streets has been palpable.

“We could be heading for a turnout of over 80%, which is the biggest turnout in an election in Scotland ever. When people talk about disengagement I think tonight proves this is a myth because people will turn out and vote if there is something worth voting for.

“In terms of what I’ve seen in Fraserburgh I feel very positive that there has been huge support for Yes in Fraserburgh.

“This referendum has electrified Scottish politics. People realise the future is in their own hands. People who have never voted before felt their voice was heard tonight.”

Liberal Democrat for the North East Alison McInnes commented: “I think it’s been a fascinating campaign on the whole.

“Change of this scale and of this nature can’t be decided by a few people, so I’m delighted with the turnout.

“I get the distinct sense from campaigning in Aberdeenshire that people were very anxious and my feeling is that No will win the day.”

Fraserburgh and District councillor Charles Buchan commented: “I’m extremely disappointed but this will be used as a foundation for another attempt in a few years’ time.

“It is quite amazing that we reached the stage of having a free and fair vote on independence without conflict and this was in large measure due to the Scottish Government negotiating the Edinburgh Agreement which set up the referendum.

“This referendum process has brought up a huge amount of interest in politics which I hope will be fostered in the future.”

Speaking before the result, Central Buchan councillor Jim Ingram said: “I hope in the morning, whether the Yes side or the No side wins - and I sincerely hope the Yes side wins - I hope we can come together and work for the good of the country. I’m sure we will.”

Peterhead North and Rattray councillor Alan Gardiner added: “First impressions tonight is how impressive the set up is here.

“Speaking to both sides, both sides are energized and there seems to be banter and conversation between both sides.

“Whether it’s a Yes or a No vote, it’s imperative that both sides work together to bring the country back together.

“Some people won’t want to come together but it’s important the people on the losing side pull back together quickly.

“If it’s a No vote I’d really be looking to see the Devo Max proposals brought forward as soon as possible.”

Aberdeenshire Counting Officer Colin Mackenzie said: “This has been an historic night for Scotland and it is fantastic to see record numbers of voters in Aberdeenshire taking part in the democratic referendum process.”

A total of 71,337 votes (39.6%) were cast for Yes and a total of 108,606 votes were cast for No (60.3%).