Boris Johnson has once again batted away suggestions of a second referendum on Scottish independence in a letter to Nicola Sturgeon.
Ms Sturgeon, Scottish first minister, wrote to the prime minister shortly after the general election to request the second referendum, saying her party’s result gave a clear democratic mandate.
But Mr Johnson’s response makes his disagreement clear.
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She also said the SNP would ask the Scottish Parliament to “back Scotland’s right to choose our own future”. Her government will put its next steps together before the end of the month, she said.
Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “We are saying, ‘No, Nicola, concentrate on the day job’.
“The Scottish government is failing when it comes to education, transport, health and crime.
“It’s important that people in the UK know that those in power are focusing on important issues.”
He said Brexit would bring benefits to Scotland including new jobs in the fishing industry, and that the UK voted as one body in the EU referendum.
Mr Gove also accused Ms Sturgeon of being terrified of talking about anything other the independence calling her a “one trick pony”.
The letter from the prime minister came shortly after Jess Phillips, one of the Labour leadership candidates, announced she would be “100% committed to the union”.
She said: “The idea that the answer to the UK leaving a union with our most important trading partner is for Scotland to leave a union with her most important trading partner only makes sense if you’re a nationalist.
“Nicola Sturgeon wants to talk to me about threats to Scotland – the SNP’s abject failings on education and health show that it is her administration that remains a threat to opportunity and equality for working people in Scotland.”
But Ms Sturgeon responded on Twitter by saying the Labour backbencher was “singing from exactly the same hymn sheet as Boris Johnson”.
She added: “The sound in the background is Scottish Labour’s few remaining voters running for the hills.”
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