Politicians in the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been “playing political games” instead of making people’s lives better, Liz Truss has claimed.
Hitting out at the SNP, Welsh Labour and Sinn Fein, the Foreign Secretary pledged to put an end to “constitutional division”.
With the SNP pushing for a second Scottish independence referendum and power-sharing suspended at Stormont over a row about the Northern Ireland Protocol, preserving the Union will be a key challenge for the next prime minister.
Setting out her stall, Ms Truss said: “Having grown up in Paisley before going to a comprehensive school in Leeds, I consider myself a child of the Union. When I say I will deliver for our country, I mean all of it.
“As prime minister, I would also hold the role of Minister for the Union and seek to strengthen it,” she added,
She claimed that “for too long, people in parts of our United Kingdom have been let down by their devolved administrations playing political games instead of focusing on their priorities”.
“Mark Drakeford’s Labour in the Senedd rely on the endorsement of nationalists and have failed to invest in key infrastructure in Wales,” she said.
“In Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein remains eager to drive a wedge between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and push themselves further and further away.
“In Scotland, instead of delivering on people’s priorities, the SNP are preoccupied with independence.”
Ms Truss said that she would “open new markets” for “Scotch whisky, Welsh lamb and ships in Northern Ireland”.
And she pledged to build an M4 relief road in Wales and to upgrade the A75 between Gretna and Stranraer in Scotland.
Her rival Rishi Sunak accused of her being “dangerously complacent”, while Ms Sturgeon countered by claiming Ms Truss had asked her “how she could get into Vogue”.
Ms Truss said: “We are not four separate nations in an agreement of convenience, as some would have us believe. We are one great country which shares a history and institutions, but also family and friends, memories and values.
"I would ensure that our entire family continues to get the attention, support, and investment that it deserves.”