4, March 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May has blasted Scotland’s “obsession” with independence from the UK, saying the country needs to stay united as it withdraws from the European Union. Speaking to the Scottish Tory conference in Glasgow on Friday, May said it was a “personal priority” for her to keep all devolved UK states united. “We are four nations, but at heart one people,” she said. “The Union I am determined to strengthen and sustain is one that works for working people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
The premier lashed out at the Scottish National Party (SNP)’s attempts to launch a new independence bid amid the Scottish Labour’s inaction. In a 2014 referendum, 55 percent of Scots voted against independence, but the discussions about the issue gained steam again following the Brexit vote.
“For too long a feeble and incompetent Scottish Labour opposition did nothing to scrutinize the SNP for their failures,” she said. “An SNP government interested only in stoking-up endless constitutional grievance and furthering their obsession with independence, at the expense of Scottish public services like the NHS and education, was given a free pass by Labour,” the PM added.
Earlier this week, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned May that she was pushing Scotland towards a new independence bid, noting that last year’s vote by 52 percent of Britons to end the UK’s membership in the European Union had changed the landscape.
This is while, Scottish voters overwhelmingly voted in last year’s EU referendum to remain a part of the 28-member bloc. Sturgeon has repeatedly asked for a “key role” for Scotland in the Brexit process, a request May has strongly turned down.
The problem grew bigger when May announced her plans for a “clean exit” from the EU, where the UK would lose its access to the EU single market against Scotland’s desire. British Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said on February 22 that Scotland was leaving the EU whether or not it becomes an independent state.
May said in her speech that Scotland “makes a huge contribution to the UK’s global role” and should stay part of the country in today’s “changing world.”