Alex Salmond has resigned as Scotland's First Minister and will also step down as leader of the Scottish National Party.

Salmond made the sensational annoucement only hours after the pro-independence campaign crashed to a resounding defeat in the Scottish independence referendum.

Salmond said: "For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die."

Speaking in Edinburgh, which voted against Salmond by saying "No" to independence, he said: "I am immensely proud of the campaign that Yes Scotland fought and particularly of the 1.6 million voters who rallied to that cause."

It is understood Salmond will go in November, bringing down the curtain on the tenure of one of the UK's most charismatic political performers, who simply failed to convince enough of his fellow Scots that the country should become independent from the rest of Britain.

Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron sent Salmond a tweet congratulating him on "a hard-fought" independence campaign.