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Nicola Sturgeon hits out at Tory rival in bid to shift indyref2 focus to Brexit

Ms Sturgeon described the Tories as a “shower of charlatans”.

Nicola Sturgeon has branded Ruth Davidson a “one-trick pony” after facing fresh calls from the Scottish Tory leader to drop a second referendum on independence.

The First Minister came under pressure to set out whether she would ditch another vote on the issue following the SNP’s loss of 21 seats in last week’s snap General Election.

She has already acknowledged independence was a factor in the result and has said she will reflect on her next steps.

Ms Davidson used First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood to accuse Ms Sturgeon of “double standards” for failing to act quickly to rule out another referendum, pointing out the SNP leader had “pounced” to put the issue on the table within hours of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union last June.

She highlighted a new Survation poll for the Daily Record that found 60% of Scots believe Ms Sturgeon should drop her demand for a second vote, as well as calls from within her own party to take a step back.

Ms Davidson said: “Let’s cut to the chase today. This has got nothing to do with listening to the people, it’s all about how she can find a way to re-float or re-brand her sinking dream of independence and the people of Scotland just want to put it behind us. She says she’s listening to the folk of Scotland and so she should. Her referendum isn’t wanted so will she ditch it now?”

The First Minister repeated her position that she would proceed with “calm reflection in the national interest”.

She said: “I think what Ruth Davidson has just demonstrated there today and what she is increasingly demonstrating to the Scottish people is that she is nothing more than a one-trick pony, having to confront any issue other than an independence referendum, she is left floundering.”

The First Minister called on Ms Davidson to set out her position on Brexit, adding “or is her position exactly what her position has been over the past year that she will do exactly what Theresa May tells her to do regardless of what is in the best interest of the country?”

Ms Sturgeon described the Tories as a “shower of charlatans” who risk making the UK a “laughing stock internationally”, and said it is a “dereliction of duty” for the Scottish Tory leader not to focus on the beginning of the Brexit negotiations next week.

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Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson laughs during FMQs. (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She said: “On Monday the UK Government is about to start a formal negotiation with the EU with no mandate for its hard Brexit position, no consensus even within its own ranks about what it is trying to achieve, let alone in the country more widely.

“In short, in just four days’ time we are going to be led off the cliff edge by a Tory Government devoid of legitimacy and credibility and utterly clueless about what it is trying to achieve. That is the real and present danger to Scottish jobs, investment and living standards.

“So any politician with the national interest rather than just party interest at heart will be focused on trying to protect Scotland from a disaster that the Tories are in the process of leading us into, and that is what I am focused on doing.”

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