No second Scottish independence referendum ‘on my watch’

Liz Truss has pledged that there will be no second Scottish independence referendum ‘on my watch’ as ​​she is committed to strengthening and defending the Union.

The Foreign Secretary told the Telegraph she would refuse to allow a new ballot if she won the Tory leadership race.

Her refusal to endorse a second referendum at any time if she becomes prime minister appears to go much further than Boris Johnson’s earlier rejection of a second ballot simply on the grounds that now was “not the time”.

Ms Truss said: ‘Scottish nationalists have accepted that their referendum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and I will force them to do so.

She added: “I will work to strengthen our whole Union. As Prime Minister, I will do what is necessary and right to defend our Union, as I have already done on the Northern Ireland protocol.”

His intervention came as Brandon Lewis, who quit as Northern Ireland secretary earlier this month, endorsed Ms Truss to succeed Mr Johnson at Downing Street.

He also broke cover to accuse Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor and Ms Truss’ rival for the Tory leadership, of blocking legislation intended to override the protocol, amid a standoff with the EU.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Lewis claimed the Treasury under Mr Sunak had put up ‘tremendous resistance’ to legislative efforts to address problems with the protocol and were more focused on trying to ‘keep the Happy EU”.

Responding to Mr Sunak’s recent public engagement with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, overseen by Ms Truss, Mr Lewis said: ‘It’s good to see it coming to see it’s the way forward, as it doesn’t quite reflect the experience I’ve had of the Treasury over the past year and a half.”

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