Liz Truss has said Nicola Sturgeon should focus on Scotland’s domestic issues rather than “agitating” for a second independence referendum.
The Tory leadership favorite said during an election campaign in Perth on Tuesday that she would ‘not allow’ another vote on independence if she becomes prime minister on September 5.
Protesters gathered outside the city’s concert hall as they shouted ‘Tories out’ and held banners with ‘Scottish not British’ while pushing through barriers in the tensest stampede yet – and the first and only in Scotland.
Politics Hub: Truss receives loudest applause in Perth
Mrs Truss and Ms. Sturgeon exchange blows from the favorite to succeed Boris Johnson said it was best to ‘ignore’ Scottish Prime Minister and his persistent calls to another referendum on independence.
The SNP leader hit back, saying that in her limited dealings with Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary had seemed most interested in asking her how to get into Vogue magazine.
Inside the room, Ms Truss called herself a ‘child of the union’ as she lived in Paisley as a young girl – and said the Scottish Government should improve its record rather than seek another vote .
The Scottish government is pushing to decide whether a referendum can be held to be withdrawn from Westminster, with the Supreme Court set to rule on the legality of their holding an advisory vote next year.
Ms Truss said: “If elected Prime Minister, I will not allow another referendum on independence.
“At the time of the 2014 referendum, it was agreed by the SNP that this was a once-in-a-generation referendum.
“I believe politicians keep their promises, and Nicola Sturgeon should keep her promise.
“What she should be doing, rather than fussing about for another referendum, is to deal with the very real issues in Scotland.”
She added that the Scottish Government should instead deal with the NHS backlog.
Ms. Truss’ comments were somewhat overshadowed by questions about a leaked recording in which she said British workers needed “more graft” and lacked the “skills and application” of foreign rivals.
The clip, obtained by The Guardian, was recorded five years ago but emerged before the hustings.
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Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak was less adamant in its rejection of another independence referendum.
The former chancellor said he accepted the union was “by consent” and did not believe “now or anytime in the near future” was the time to consider another vote.
“We live in a union which is, of course, there by consent and by democracy and I accept that, but I just don’t think anyone thinks that now or at any time in the near future that they are remotely the time to focus on that,” he said.
Kirsten Oswald, deputy leader of the SNP in Westminster, said the event had been “depressing” for Scots and said the candidates were trying to “outdo Thatcher”.
“The pair have made several attempts to tell us tonight what Scotland wants,” she added.
“Scotland has made it clear what it wants and what it doesn’t want by repeatedly rejecting the Conservatives at the polls and repeatedly voting for pro-independence parties.”