British PM May says preserving union a prime goal

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been demanding substantial new powers are transferred to Holyrood following Brexit.

She described the SNP government as interested only in stoking-up endless constitutional grievance and furthering their obsession with independence, at the expense of Scottish public services like the NHS and education.

"When the UK Government begins negotiations with the European Union on Brexit, we will do so in the interests of all parts of the UK and of the UK as a whole".

"However, whether or not I'd be willing to cast my vote in that direction within the next couple of years depends on two things: the quality of the SNP government's attempts to deal with..."

SNP representatives have said a so-called "hard Brexit" will leave Scotland with no choice but to call another referendum.

May also suggested that Sturgeon and her party should focus more on improving the livelihood of young Scottish people rather than talking up a referendum.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said that while a second independence referendum was possible, it was not the right course for Scotland.

Despite the SNP's grip on political power in Scotland, Downing Street believes Sturgeon is in a weak position on independence.

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"The economic case for the union has never been stronger", May told her Conservative Party's Scottish conference in Glasgow.

"I am determined to ensure that as we leave the European Union, we do so as one United Kingdom, which prospers outside the European Union as one United Kingdom", May said.

"That solidarity is the essence of our United Kingdom and is the surest safeguard of its future". She then spoke of her passion for preserving the United Kingdom.

"The SNP's neglect and mismanagement of Scottish education has been a scandal", she will add. A referendum in 2014 saw Scotland vote to remain in UK.

In a speech Tuesday, she accused the United Kingdom government of ignoring Scotland's views and failing to compromise as it prepares to trigger Article 50, kicking off the formal process of leaving the European Union.

Theresa May has told Nicola Sturgeon to stop playing politics with Brexit and has accused the SNP of "twisting the truth to further their obsession of independence".

And SNP ministers are also seeking a separate deal for Scotland which could see the country remain in the European single market even after the United Kingdom leaves.

"Our aim will be to achieve the most effective arrangements to maintain and strengthen the United Kingdom, while also respecting the devolution settlements, and we will work constructively with the devolved administrations on that basis".

  • Sonia Alvarado