David Cameron tells Scots: Forget a second independence referendum

Posted On: 
27th June 2016

A second referendum on independence is "the last thing Scotland needs", Downing Street today.

David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon on the steps of Bute House in Edinburgh last year
Credit: 
PA Images

Number 10 also slapped down Nicola Sturgeon over her bid to hold talks directly with Brussels about Scotland staying in the EU despite last week's referendum result.

The Scottish first minister has said another independence referendum is "highly likely" after Scotland bucked the UK-wide trend by voting overwhelmingly for Remain.

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Nicola Sturgeon: Second Scottish independence referendum 'highly likely'

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She has asked her officials to begin drafting legislation for a second poll in a bid to overturn the result of the last one, when Scots voted by 55% to 45% to stay in the UK.

But at a briefing this afternoon, the Prime Minister's official spokeswoman said: "There was a legal, fair and decisive referendum nearly two years ago. The reasons for Scotland to be in the UK are as strong now as they were 18 months ago. The last thing that Scotland needs now is a divisive referendum."

On Ms Sturgeon's claim that Scotland could could hold talks with Brussels while Brexit negotiations are going on, the spokeswoman said: "Foreign policy is a reserved matter. There is a Scotland Office in Brussels that has existed for a number of years."

BREXIT UNIT

Meanwhile, it also emerged today that Mr Cameron has set up a unit to carry out initial work on Britain quitting the EU.

Civil servants from the Cabinet Office, the Treasury and Foreign Office will provide advice to the Prime Minister's successor in advance of the formal Brexit negotiations.

Mr Cameron's spokeswoman said: "This is going to be a complex task. What the civil service is there to do is make sure that we prepare for an incoming Prime Minister to take decisions.

"The British people have decided to leave the EU, the civil service have not done contingency work about what that would be. Now we can start the work to put the UK in the best possible position for those negotiations on Britain's future relationship with the EU."