Rishi Sunak said he will not allow a separation vote if elected prime minister and vowed to take on Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon.
The UK prime minister and Conservative Party leadership candidate Sunak said Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, poses a threat to the Union.
“Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP pose an existential threat to our cherished union. We can’t just bury our heads in the sand and pretend they aren’t there – we need to stop them in their tracks,” Sunak said.
Sunak was referring to his contender Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, who said Nicola Sturgeon is an attention-seeker. “I think the best thing we can do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her. I’m sorry, she’s an attention seeker, that’s all she is,” Truss said.
Sunak will head to Scotland on Saturday for his Tory leadership campaign.
Nicola Sturgeon earlier this year announced that her party wants to hold a second referendum in October 2023.
Her government also released a draft independence referendum bill, which was referred to the Supreme Court to determine whether the bill can be passed without UK government agreement.
In the first referendum held in 2014, Scottish electorate rejected independence by a margin of 55% to 45%.
Sunak said that Sturgeon plans to hijack the next general election to push and transform it into a ‘de facto’ independence referendum.
The Richmond MP was also infuriated by the decision taken by a group of Scottish civil servants who wanted to drop references to Queen Elizabeth II, Brexit and England’s 1966 World Cup victory in a children’s book commemorating the Platinum Jubilee.
He said that these demands were a display of how far separatists would go to achieve their objectives. Rishi Sunak also said he is ready to argue with Sturgeon on the issue of Scottish independence if engaged and said he would want to come out as a winner.
“As prime minister of the United Kingdom, I (would) care about the citizens everywhere and make sure that people in Scotland get the schools, the health service that they deserve,” Sunak said, adding that he would hold the SNP accountable for the large sums of money that were given to them for all round development of Scotland.
(with inputs from The Telegraph UK)