12 JANUARY 2023 | NEWS
For the first time as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak travelled to Scotland today to hold talks with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
It is understood that the NHS, the economy and the cost-of-living crisis were some of the main topics raised in their private talks.
Ms Sturgeon’s push for a second referendum on Scottish independence was also raised.
Mr Sunak is also set to announce the locations of new ‘green’ free ports in an attempt to show the benefits of Scotland’s membership to the United Kingdom and aim to boost investment and growth through the use of tax incentives.
The talks were described as “constructive and cordial”, with the Scottish First Minister telling the UK Prime Minister she was “ready and willing” to negotiate regarding a second referendum on Scottish independence.
Ms Sturgeon had previously said she would fight the next General Election as a de facto referendum on independence, unless the Westminster Government agrees to hold another plebiscite on the matter.
The Scottish and Westminster governments are currently at odds over a controversial Bill recently passed by the Scottish Parliament that attempts to make it easier for transgender people to ‘self-identify’ and obtain a gender recognition certificate, without the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
However, it has been reported that the Prime Minister is planning to block the legislation and prevent the laws from coming into place.
A spokesman for Mr Sunak said the move was still being looked at ahead of a deadline next week. He said: “There is a process to consider it and then he will be given advice to make a decision – that’s still taking place.”
GB News also reports that Ms Sturgeon has teamed up with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, in a bid to force the Prime Minister to give Scotland £3 billion after it was seen to be snubbed in a revision of plans for the HS2 railway upgrade.