Rishi Sunak has said he wants to “tangibly and visibly” demonstrate the UK Government’s presence in Scotland.
The Prime Minister has been in Inverness this week as part of a two-day trip north of the border, during which he announced two new green freeports in Scotland.
On Thursday night, he met with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to discuss challenges the UK and Scottish governments face.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, he was asked about recent polling which showed an uptick in support for Scottish independence, with some reporting a Yes vote of more than 50%.
It was great to be in Inverness today meeting rescue services and hearing more about the life-saving work they do every day. I also sat down with First Minister @NicolaSturgeon to discuss the challenges we jointly face and how best to deliver for communities across the UK. pic.twitter.com/CTuqMAXkgM
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) January 12, 2023
Mr Sunak said: “I’m really keen as Prime Minister for the United Kingdom to make sure that everyone in Scotland realises that I’m passionately committed to delivering for them.”
He said he is keen to have a “constructive working relationship” with the Scottish Government, saying he spoke to Ms Sturgeon soon after becoming Prime Minister.
Mr Sunak continued: “You can see it today and yesterday with my visit and my meeting with her and the announcement today.
“I think that’s what I want to keep doing more on, I want to keep demonstrating tangibly and visibly to people in Scotland that the UK Government is here trying to make a big difference to their lives.”
As well as the freeports, he said communities in Scotland are benefitting from the UK Government’s levelling up money.
He said: “These are all examples of where we can demonstrate the benefit and the value of the UK Government to people in Scotland.”
The Prime Minister was also asked about the SNP’s plans to treat the next general election as a de facto referendum on independence.
He said: “I think people vote for all sorts of things in general elections, but what I’m focused on doing is delivering on people’s priorities.”
Devolved and UK governments are currently dealing with challenges in the NHS, the impact of the war in Ukraine and inflation, he said.
Mr Sunak said: “Those are the challenges that we really need to tackle and today’s announcement is a good example of us working constructively with the Scottish Government to try and make a difference on some of those things.”