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First Minister to make Borders rail announcement

The First Minister will be in the Scottish Borders. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Alex Salmond is visiting the Scottish Borders today.

He'll be in Melrose to talk about the benefits the new Borders Railway will bring to the region.

The outgoing First Minister will be replaced by Nicola Sturgeon later this week.

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Alex Salmond: Nicola Sturgeon will 'make history'

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is congratulated by new SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon following his speech at the annual party conference at Perth Concert Hall, Scotland. Credit: PA

Alex Salmond has stepped down as SNP leader with a prediction that his successor, Nicola Sturgeon, will "make history" and secure independence for Scotland.

Scotland has now "changed utterly" as a result of the referendum vote he said.

He hailed Ms Sturgeon - who will be Scotland's first female first minister - as a "woman of extraordinary talent".

Mr Salmond told his successor: "Nicola, your contribution to where this party now stands has already been immense. "Your future contribution - I have no doubt - will be to make history."

He told the conference the "dream" of independence was "alive and well and will succeed".

Mr Salmond said that in the referendum - in which the Yes campaign secured 45% of the vote - Scotland had risen to "the challenge of change".

He said: "The people will not disappear back into the political shadows and the nation will not fade into the dark. This country has changed and changed utterly.

"That is the change which will carry us forward - forward to independence."

John Swinney: It's been a 'joy' to sit at Alex Salmond's side

John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Secretary, has said it has 'been a joy' to sit at Alex Salmond's side.

In a speech at the SNP conference in Perth, Alex Salmond said that the Finance Secretary was 'Scotland's Merlin'.

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Alex Salmond: Scotland will become an independent nation

Alex Salmond addressing the SNP conference for the last time as leader.

Alex Salmond has used his final speech as SNP leader to proclaim that "Scotland will become an independent nation".

The referendum vote was 45%, not 55%, but let us proclaim what each of us knows now iwth a greater certainty than ever before. Scotland will become an independent nation.

– Alex Salmond.

He also hailed a recent surge in the party's membership, telling delegates that the SNP now had 85,000 members.

Alex Salmond's speech highlights

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John Swinney is 'Scotland's Merlin'

The Scottish Finance Secretary, John Swinney, has been called 'Scotland's Merlin' by Alex Salmond, who is speaking at the SNP conference in Perth.

'Scotland will become an independent nation'

Alex Salmond, speaking at the SNP conference, has said that Scotland "will become an independent nation".

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