May to tell Scots: Let UK and Scotland 'flourish together'

James Matthews, Scotland Correspondent

Prime Minister Theresa May will today appeal to Scots to make the UK and Scotland "flourish together".

She is expected to tell an audience during a visit to Aberdeenshire: "My message to the people of Scotland today is clear: if you vote for me it will strengthen my hand in the Brexit negotiations. It will strengthen the union, strengthen the economy and together the UK and Scotland will flourish. Because when Scotland is flourishing, the rest of the United Kingdom is flourishing too."

It is the Prime Minister's first trip north of the border since announcing the election and she arrives amidst opinion polls reflecting a Tory revival in Scotland.

A YouGov poll for The Times (Scotland) on the eve of her visit predicted the Conservatives would increase their number of Scottish seats from one to eight. The same poll put the SNP on 47 seats (down from 54) with the Liberal Democrats on three (up from one) and Labour flatlining on a single seat.

The Tories' apparent shift in popularity has come on the back of a Conservative campaign styling themselves as the party to preserve the UK union amidst SNP plans for a second independence referendum.

The SNP chose the Prime Minister's visit to challenge her on pensions.

The party's leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson MP, said: "When Theresa May comes to Scotland, she needs to tell pensioners they will get what is rightfully theirs.

"The only reason to not guarantee the pensions triple lock is to spend less on pensions. The public and senior citizens are right to fear a pensions bombshell by the Tories."

The UK Brexit Secretary has told the Scottish Government that its proposal for a separate Brexit deal to stay in the EU single market would "not be deliverable".

David Davis' response to the Edinburgh administration has only just been made public. In a letter, sent on 29 March, he addressed the plan to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Mr Davis wrote that such a scenario could create internal trade barriers in the UK, leading to "significant disruption".