Scotland politics

Conservative Davidson says 'no popular support' for independence vote

Ruth Davidson Image copyright PA
Image caption Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the SNP government did not have a mandate to call a second independence referendum

Scotland's Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said there is no popular support for a second Scottish independence referendum.

She was speaking ahead of her party's two-day conference in Glasgow.

Ms Davidson told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that she believed the SNP government did not have a mandate for indyref2.

She added that if First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called one she would take a "pretty big hit".

Ms Davidson explained: "I don't think the FM, even by her own measure, has the right to do it [call a second referendum].

"She doesn't have a mandate for it, she doesn't have popular support for it and I think she will take a pretty big hit when you see how many people across Scotland don't want dragged back to a second independence referendum and if she insists on trying to call one I think she will take a pretty big hit."

Prime Minister Theresa May also focused on the issue of independence during a BBC Scotland interview on Thursday.

She told Jackie Bird that the SNP had a "tunnel vision" over wanting a second referendum.

That led Ms Sturgeon to say that Mrs May's Westminster government had "no mandate" in Scotland.

'Down and down and down'

The PM will address Tory party members later.

Ms Davidson, who will make her keynote speech to the conference on Saturday afternoon, said Ms Sturgeon had failed to show that she had public support for a second independence vote.

She told presenter Gary Robertson: "She [Nicola Sturgeon] also said that she would only have a right to call one if she changed public opinion.

Image caption Theresa May said she was "passionate" about preserving the United Kingdom

"Now, not only has public opinion not changed, but public opinion over whether to call a referendum has gone, down and down and down."

Ms Davidson was also quizzed about whether Scotland might receive more devolved powers as a result of Brexit negotiations.

She said she had no "ideological objection to absolutely everything coming to Holyrood".

However, the MSP said that the decisions made needed to protect the current market agriculture and fisheries had with the rest of the UK.

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