Alex Salmond
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond reacts as he concedes defeat in the independence referendum at the "Yes" Campaign headquarters in Edinburgh, Friday morning, Sept. 19, 2014. Reuters/Russell Cheyne

Scottish independence leader Alex Salmond will step down as first minister of Scotland, he announced Friday after his country voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Salmond said it was the “privilege of my life to serve as first minister.”

He said he has no plans to step out of Scottish politics and will continue to fight for independence, but that his capacity as first minister would hinder his plans. Salmond held out hope that Scotland could still become independent during his lifetime and said he took partial responsibility for the loss and “any mistakes I’ve made are mine and my own.”

Salmond has been first minister of Scotland since 2007. He led a once obscure Scottish independence movement as leader of the Scottish National Party to a viable campaign that had a fighting chance of victory Thursday. He had said before the vote that he would not resign as leader of the Scottish government in Edinburgh if Scottish voters decided to stay with the U.K.

Salmond warned British leaders in London against breaking their vows of giving further powers to Scotland made by Prime Minister David Cameron and other Westminster politicians.

A successor is expected by mid-November. Watch Salmond's press conference below: