Scottish people do not want a second independence referendum, Downing Street says

Theresa May did not personally respond to Nicola Sturgeon: Reuters
Theresa May did not personally respond to Nicola Sturgeon: Reuters

Downing Street has insisted that Scottish people do not want to second independence referendum – but has shied away from saying it would block a new plebiscite.

Nicola Sturgeon on Monday morning called for a second poll, arguing that it would give Scotland a choice between Theresa May's Brexit deal and remaining in the EU as an independent country.

A No. 10 spokesperson said the Scottish Government "should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people in Scotland".

Ms Sturgeon said the UK Government should accept the will of the Scottish Parliament on holding a referendum. The UK Government however has to authorise a second poll under the terms of Section 30.

A UK Government spokesperson derided the idea of a second referendum but did not expressly say it would block one.

“As the Prime Minister has set out, the UK Government seeks a future partnership with the EU that works for the whole of the United Kingdom. The UK Government will negotiate that agreement, but we will do so taking into account the interests of all of the nations of the UK," the spokesperson said.

"We have been working closely with all the devolved administrations - listening to their proposals, and recognising the many areas of common ground, including workers’ rights, the status of EU citizens living in the UK and our security from crime and terrorism.

“Only a little over two years ago people in Scotland voted decisively to remain part of our United Kingdom in a referendum which the Scottish Government defined as a ‘once in a generation’ vote. The evidence clearly shows that a majority of people in Scotland do not want a second independence referendum. Another referendum would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time.

“The Scottish Government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people in Scotland.”

Theresa May has yet to personally comment on Ms Sturgeon's call for a second vote. She is busy today meeting the Prime Minister of Malta.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that there was "no appetite for another referendum" but that Labour's MPs at Westminster would not block a "democratic decision" to hold one by the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Sturgeon said this morning: "The option of no change is no longer available. But we will give the Scottish people a choice about the kind of change we want."

“I believe that it would be wrong for Scotland to be taken down a path that it has no control over regardless of the consequences for our economy, for our society, for our place in the world, for our very sense of who we are as a country. That would be wrong, and therefore my judgement is that we should have that choice," she said.

"I believe that in a referendum the Scottish people will opt for independence, but that will be the choice of the Scottish people and I’ve been very clear that that will be an informed choice.”