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Leadsom: Never say never to second Scottish independence referendum

The Tory leadership hopeful said she would not rule out another independence referendum, but stressed it was not in the interests of Scotland.

Andrea Leadsom said a second referendum on independence was not in Scotland’s interests (Victoria Jones/PA)
Andrea Leadsom said a second referendum on independence was not in Scotland’s interests (Victoria Jones/PA)

One of the contenders in the race for Number 10 said she would not rule out allowing another referendum on Scottish independence.

Andrea Leadsom said she would “never say never” to the prospect of another public vote, but stressed that it would not be in the interests of either Scotland or the UK.

She said it would be “disrespectful” to the Scottish Parliament for her to rule out a referendum completely if she becomes prime minister, but she would fight against it.

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Andrea Leadsom said it would be ‘disrespectful’ to rule out another Scottish referendum (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Tory leadership hopeful told a Westminster lunch: “The reason I say ‘never say never’ is because I do not think that there should be another independence referendum in Scotland, I do not think it’s in their interest, but on the other hand I am a big believer in devolution.

“So, what I just want to say is I am not going to stand here and utterly rule it out because I think that that is disrespectful.

“But I would very strongly fight against a second referendum, which I don’t think is in the interest of Scotland and it’s definitely not in the interests of the UK.

“What I think we have to be doing is promote the strength of the UK working together far stronger, far more than we have done, and I have a number of policy areas that I would use to try and make that happen.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “The Scottish Parliament has voted to hold an independence referendum. Andrea Leadsom is right to recognise that it would be deeply disrespectful for Westminster to rule it out – it would be a democratic outrage for the Tories to stand in the way of democracy.”

But Labour MP for Edinburgh South Ian Murray said Mrs Leadsom’s comments showed “the Tories can’t be trusted to protect Scotland’s place in the union”.

PA

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