The White House expressed satisfaction this morning at Scotland’s vote to stay within the United Kingdom, with one congressman stressing it was an important decision from a security standpoint.
“We welcome the result of yesterday’s referendum on Scottish independence and congratulate the people of Scotland for their full and energetic exercise of democracy,” President Obama said in a statement. “Through debate, discussion, and passionate yet peaceful deliberations, they reminded the world of Scotland’s enormous contributions to the UK and the world, and have spoken in favor of keeping Scotland within the United Kingdom.”
“We have no closer ally than the United Kingdom, and we look forward to continuing our strong and special relationship with all the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as we address the challenges facing the world today,” he added.
The White House repeatedly said it wouldn’t step into the middle of referendum. On Wednesday, Obama issued a personally signed tweet saying, “The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron, declaring “the people of Scotland have spoken,” admitted that a “yes” vote “would have broken my heart.”
“Now the debate has been settled for a generation or as Alex Salmond has said, perhaps for a lifetime,” Cameron said. “So there can be no disputes, no re-runs – we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.”
“We now have a chance – a great opportunity – to change the way the British people are governed, and change it for the better… Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs.”
Cameron acknowledged the campaign “stirred strong passions.”
“It has electrified politics in Scotland, and caught the imagination of people across the whole of our United Kingdom,” he said. “It will be remembered as a powerful demonstration of the strength and vitality of our ancient democracy. Record numbers registered to vote and record numbers cast their vote. We can all be proud of that. It has reminded us how fortunate we are that we are able to settle these vital issues at the ballot box, peacefully and calmly.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) called the outcome “a welcome vote.”
“The Scottish people’s decision to remain part of the United Kingdom will allow our robust cooperation on security, humanitarian, and economic issues to continue uninterrupted,” Royce said. “I look forward to further deepening the exceptional relations between our countries.”