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Fri, 22 Nov 2019 13:42 GMT

May Warns Successor to Prioritise the Union over Brexit


7Dnews London

Thu, 04 Jul 2019 14:35 GMT

Theresa May is warning her successor as prime minister about the grave responsibility of preserving the union, joining a chorus of senior Conservatives urging caution over a no-deal Brexit and the rise of populist policies.

This has come as Nicola Sturgeon claims that Scottish Independence will be her legacy.

The comments that their first and greatest duty will be to strengthen the union can be seen as a veiled swipe at Boris Johnson’s readiness to take the UK out of the EU without a deal, which other ministers say could make Scottish independence more likely.

In a speech in Scotland in the dying days of her premiership, May will mark 20 years of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by saying she believed her successor would build on the work done to strengthen the union’s ties.

“The job of prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland brings with it privileges and responsibilities which you only really feel once the black door closes behind you,” Theresa May said, referring to the front door of 10 Downing Street. “One of the first and greatest is the duty you owe to strengthen the Union – to govern on behalf of the whole United Kingdom,” she said.

May’s successor will take up his role later this month and the first task will be to try and break the impasse in parliament over Brexit and end the uncertainty over whether, when and how Britain will leave the EU.

Johnson and Hunt have said they want to secure the agreement with the EU to deliver a smooth Brexit to minimise the disruption to businesses. But if no agreement can be reached, both have said they would trigger a no-deal Brexit, something that some ministers say could fuel demands for a second independence referendum in Scotland, which voted to stay in the EU in the 2016 vote.

An opinion poll published in June showed the majority of Conservative Party members, who will make the final decision on Britain’s next prime minister, would accept losing Scotland as part of the United Kingdom as long as Brexit is delivered.

Calls for a new independence referendum in Scotland have grown since the Brexit vote. Scotland rejected independence by a 55-45% majority in a referendum in 2014.