Theresa May slaps down Nicola Sturgeon over plans for fresh Scottish independence drive

Posted On: 
21st May 2018

Downing Street today slapped down Nicola Sturgeon after the SNP leader hinted she was gearing up to launch a fresh Scottish independence drive.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
PA Images

The First Minister yesterday said she wanted to “restart a debate” about the apparent benefits of breaking away from the UK as Brexit looms.

But a spokesperson for the Prime Minister today rejected any fresh calls for “another divisive referendum” and urged Ms Sturgeon to respect the result of the 2014 vote.

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Some 55% of Scots opted to remain part of the UK when the poll was taken four years ago - but Ms Sturgeon has said the vote for Brexit should reignite the issue as Scotland plumped for Remain.

Downing Street said today: "Now is not the time for another divisive independence referendum and there is not appetite for one.

“The people of Scotland voted decisively in 2014 to remain part of the United Kingdom and that should be respected."

Ms Sturgeon told ITV’s Peston on Sunday yesterday: “Of course over the next couple of weeks we will, I suppose, restart a debate about why independence for Scotland is an opportunity and what those opportunities are.”

She added: “What I think Scotland now has the opportunity to do is look at how we seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

“So a debate based very much on ambition and hope, not a debate that’s based on despair, which is how the Brexit debate so often feels.”

It comes amid a row over the devolution of powers after Brexit as control over various EU laws come back to the UK.

Holyrood has accused Westminster of a power grab and voted to reject its flagship EU Withdrawal Bill, with the SNP today calling for Scottish Secretary David Mundell to resign.