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Theresa May: My successor in Number 10 will make protecting union top priority

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Prime Minister Theresa May will focus on the union in her speech to a Scottish audience on Thursday (PA)
Prime Minister Theresa May will focus on the union in her speech to a Scottish audience on Thursday (PA)

The next prime minister will make strengthening the union their top priority, Theresa May has said.

Ahead of her last visit to Scotland as Prime Minister on Thursday, Mrs May is expected to say she is confident her successor at Number 10 will continue work to strengthen the relationship between the four nations of the United Kingdom.

Mrs May will make the speech before the Conservative Party leadership hustings in Scotland on Friday, where Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will pitch to the party membership.

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Boris Johnson, left, and Jeremy Hunt are the two remaining candidates in the Tory leadership race (Jeff Overs/BBC)

In her speech, the Prime Minister is expected to say: “I am confident that whoever succeeds me in 10 Downing Street will make the union their priority.

“He will be building on work done over the last three years, during which time strengthening the union has become an explicit priority of government.

“The job of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland brings with it privileges and responsibilities which you only really feel once the black door closes behind you.

“One of the first and greatest is the duty you owe to strengthen the union, to govern on behalf of the whole United Kingdom, to respect the identities of every citizen of the UK – English and Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish.

“And to ensure that we can go on facing the future together, overcoming obstacles together, and achieving more together than we ever could apart – a union of nations and people.”

At Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons on Wednesday, Mrs May dismissed suggestions the UK Government will carry out a review of Scottish devolution.

Scotland Office minister Lord Duncan said the exercise would be a “simple straightforward way of making sure devolution is working as best as it can be”.

It’s for the Scottish people - not a Tory PM - to consider and decide what future we want for our Parliament and country First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, however, described the supposed review as a “desperate act” from Mrs May.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Sturgeon insisted: “It’s for the Scottish people – not a Tory PM – to consider and decide what future we want for our Parliament and country.”

PA

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