Theresa May has introduced a ‘double lock’ on any future independence referendum ballot
Another vote on Scotland’s future will not be permitted until both the “Brexit process has played out” and there is “public consent” for a rerun.
The Prime Minister signalled her determination to block a vote for several years with the launch of the Conservative manifesto.
With the party expected to secure a larger Westminster majority June’s general election, it thwarts Nicola Sturgeon‘s hopes of a ballot as early as next year.
Mrs May has already rejected the SNP leader’s claim that her position will “crumble” if the SNP wins a majority of the seats north of the Border.
Yesterday’s blueprint accused Nationalists of trying to “disrupt” attempts to secure a good Brexit deal “with calls for a divisive referendum that the people of Scotland do not want”.
It adds: “We have been very clear that now is not the time for another referendum on independence.
“In order for a referendum to be fair, legal and decisive, it cannot take place until the Brexit process has played out and it should not take place unless there is public consent for it to happen.”
A vote will not be permitted until the ‘Brexit process has played out’ and there is ‘public consent’
Tory sources said this meant that a referendum would only happen if a series of opinion polls suggested that a clear majority of Scots supported the idea.
We have been very clear that now is not the time for another referendum on independence
Ruth Davidson has previously pointed to consistent 60 per cent support.
The Scottish Conservative leader will today make a direct appeal to Labour supporters to help her defeat Ms Sturgeon’s party in “many places”.
Seizing on a row over council coalitions she will argue her rivals are in a “state of civil war” and pledge to “do a job” for disgruntled Labour voters.
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Launching her own manifesto Ms Davidson will say: “The truth is, your party has left you, not the other way around.
“And it may well find its way back. But you know – and I know – it won’t be at this election.
“So let me do a job for you.
“Together, with your help, we can lead the fightback against the SNP and stop Nicola Sturgeon trying to pull our country apart.”
The UK manifesto 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.
It 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.
Mrs May signalled her determination to block a vote with the launch of the Conservative manifesto
With Scotland’s economy growing at only around a third of the rate across the UK as a whole, the manifesto said Tories “take seriously our duty to secure prosperity for the whole of the United Kingdom”.
It pledged to use the “United Kingdom’s muscle” to promote Scottish exports around the world and bring forward a new Borderlands Growth Deal to boost the economy across southern Scotland.
The document said a Tory Government’s stance on Brexit “begins with our determination to defend the integrity of the United Kingdom and to strengthen the Union, bringing the people of the United Kingdom together.”
Mrs May said her proposals would “see us through Brexit and beyond”, describing it as a “plan for a stronger, fairer, more prosperous Britain”.
Unveiling the document in Halifax, West Yorkshire, she promised a “mainstream government that would deliver for mainstream Britain” if she wins on June 8.
The manifesto includes a fresh pledge to curb immigration, and says the government will deliver a balanced budget by the “middle of the next decade.”
It also said there will be no increase in VAT, and promises to increase the national living wage to 60 per cent of the median earnings by 2020.
And it says the so-called “triple lock” on pensions will be reduced to a “double lock” with the state pension to rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation.
But it will no longer go up by 2.5 per cent if they are both lower than that.
However winter fuel payments, which will be means-tested south of the Border under the plans are being devolved.
Scottish Tories are expected to say the £200-a-year should remain universal in their manifesto today.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell desribed Mrs May’s blueprint as a “plan that delivers for Scotland”.
She has already rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes of a ballot as early as next year
He added: “It shows that a re-elected Conservative government will continue to ensure that Scotland benefits from its membership of the United Kingdom.”
But the SNP claimed it was a “cruel and callous attack on families” with planned cuts that it said would hit pensioners, working families and public services.
The party’s deputy leader, Angus Robertson, added: “The Tories have made a rod for their own back, because if they now fail to win the election in Scotland they have no basis whatsoever on which to continue to thwart the will of the Scottish Parliament.
“Now more than ever we need strong SNP voices to stand up against the Tories in Westminster.”
Scottish Labour’s campaign manager James Kelly said: “Ruth Davidson wants people to believe that she’s a different kind of Tory, but the reality is that the Scottish Tories are the party of the ‘rape clause’ and a hard Brexit.
“The Tories’ reckless Brexit gamble has given the nationalists the excuse they have been looking for to try to force another divisive independence referendum.”
Source : EXPRESS