Theresa May will block a second independence referendum if the Conservatives win the general election unless there is “public consent” for rerun, according to their general election manifesto.
The Tory blueprint signalled that another vote will not take for several years by stating it would not be permitted until both the “Brexit process has played out” and the Scottish people want one.
In a direct attack on Nicola Sturgeon, the manifesto said the demand for the referendum came from those who “would disrupt our attempts to get the best deal for Scotland and the United Kingdom” in talks with the EU.
Instead it argued that all parts of the UK should “pull together” during the two-year negotiations and raised the prospect of a swathe of new powers repatriated from Brussels being devolved to Edinburgh.
Unlike the Tories’ 2015 manifesto, the party’s 2017 manifesto repeatedly stresses the party’s full name – “The Conservative and Unionist Party” – throughout the document.
Although the document provided no definition of “public consent”, Ruth Davidson has previously said this would mean consistent 60 per cent support for a referendum in the opinion polls.
The UK manifesto also promised to work with the fishing industry on a replacement for the hated Common Fisheries Policy, to develop a decommissioning industry for North Sea oil and build a new concert hall in Edinburgh to mark the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival.
With Scotland’s economy growing at only around a third of the rate across the UK as a whole, it said the SNP government “has the tools” to improve this but pledged to take “concerted action” nonetheless to improve the situation.