Scots vote to stay with the UK

Unionists had warned independence would usher in financial, economic and political uncertainty.

A woman leaves a polling station after casting her vote in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 18 September 2014, during a referendum on Scotland's independence.Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Scotland has chosen to stay in the United Kingdom, spurning independence in a historic referendum that had worried allies and investors, results showed on Friday.

With the Pound reaching a two-year high against the Euro and the London Stock market, posting positive gains, it's clear the financial institutions believe Scotland has voted to stay within the union.

Sterling rose sharply while unionist campaigners clapped, cheered and poured drinks as results were announced.

The Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron were expected to make statements later.

Cameron, who acknowledged his unpopularity in Scotland during the campaign, has drawn criticism for both putting the fate of the United Kingdom on the line and then rushing to promise more powers before the vote.

Cameron was largely absent from the campaign, leaving former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to lead the unionist battle cry.

Though the nationalists won Scotland's biggest city, Glasgow, they failed to meet expectations in a clutch of other constituencies.

The campaign for independence had galvanised this country of 5.3 million but also divided friends and families from the remote Scottish islands of the Atlantic to the tough city estates of Glasgow.

Breaking apart the United Kingdom has worried allies, investors and the entire British elite whose leaders rushed late in the campaign to check what opinion polls showed was a surge in support for independence.

Seeking to tap into a cocktail of historical rivalry, opposing political tastes and a perception that London has mismanaged Scotland, nationalists say Scots, not London, should rule Scotland to build a wealthier and fairer country.

Unionists had warned independence would usher in financial, economic and political uncertainty and diminish the UK's standing in the world. They have warned that Scotland would not keep the pound as part of a formal currency union.

Beyond the money and power, the referendum has provoked deep passions in Scotland, drawn in many voters who ignore traditional political campaigns and underscored what London politicians admit is a need for wider constitutional change.