Nicola Sturgeon has repeated her demand for another Scottish independence referendum. The Scottish First Minister, who is eyeing up a fresh vote next year, raised the issue again in a letter to new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today.
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was “re-elected on a commitment to give people in Scotland the opportunity to vote in an independence referendum”.
It comes after the SNP leader underlined her “mandate” for a second referendum in a call with Mr Sunak on Tuesday night hours after he entered No10.
But Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has insisted the new PM will “stand firm” against Ms Sturgeon.
His comment was echoed by Donald Cameron, Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture.
Mr Cameron told Express.co.uk: “Rishi Sunak has already made clear that he believes – like the majority of Scots – that the SNP’s relentless push for another divisive referendum is the wrong priority at the worst possible time.
“The Prime Minister has rightly criticised this obsession which, in the midst of a global cost of living crisis, is utterly irresponsible.”
During the Tory leadership race over the summer, Mr Sunak said holding another vote on Scottish independence was “quite frankly barmy”.
Speaking at a hustings event in Perth, he said: “It is quite frankly barmy for politicians to be trying to focus on a divisive and unnecessary constitutional referendum at a time when people are worried about heating their homes.”
Mr Sunak added that he “can’t imagine the circumstances” where he would give the green light to a fresh referendum.
In her letter to the new PM today, Ms Sturgeon congratulated him on his appointment.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Notwithstanding our political differences, I very much hope we can establish a constructive working relationship based on mutual respect between our governments.
“As we discussed, you take office at a time of profound economic disruption and uncertainty, and the measures announced by your predecessor exacerbated a cost of living crisis that is causing significant damage to households and businesses now facing higher mortgages, spiralling interest rates and financial instability.”
The SNP leader also voiced concern about the impact of potential spending cuts on the Scottish Government’s budget and said more needs to be done to tackle the soaring cost of living crippling households.
She said: “The Scottish Government is using all of our powers and resources to support households to mitigate the cost crisis.
“By March 2023, we will have invested almost £3billion supporting energy bills, childcare, health and travel, as well as social security payments that are either not available elsewhere in the UK or are provided on a more generous basis.
“We have also allocated more than £800million to support businesses. However, it is clear much more needs to be done.
“It is not credible to argue that devolved funding settlements set when inflation was around 3 percent are now sufficient to address the reality of public services being eroded by double-digit inflation.”
Mr Sunak is expected to reply to the letter in due course.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “Speaking on his first day in office, the Prime Minister and First Minister agreed on the need to work constructively together on the shared challenges faced by people across the UK.
“The Prime Minister has been clear this Government will always act to protect the most vulnerable.”