First Minister Nicola Sturgeon must take a second independence referendum off the table once and for all, David Mundell will say today.
The Scottish Secretary will tell the Conservative Party conference in Manchester that unless the SNP abandon plans for a re-run of the 2014 vote, the only way to keep the UK together will be to put Ruth Davidson into Bute House.
Mr Mundell, who was joined by 12 Scottish Conservative MPs after 12 years as the only Tory north of the Border in Westminster, is expected to say: “The arrival of a dozen new Scottish Conservative MPs at Westminster in June confirmed something Ruth Davidson has been saying for a long time now: Scotland is not the SNP.”
The Borders MP will say: “The election showed just how badly out of touch Nicola Sturgeon is with public opinion.
“Instead of addressing the declining standards in Scotland’s schools, instead of tackling the pressures and missed targets that dog Scotland’s NHS, instead of building our way out of Scotland’s growing housing crisis, Nicola Sturgeon subjected Scotland to a year of political game-playing as she sought to turn the EU referendum into an excuse for a second independence poll.
“I’m glad the election result finally forced her to put her constitutional campaign on hold. But for how long?”
Mr Mundell is expected to add: “We’re told a second independence referendum is on the back burner.
“Well, it’s time Nicola Sturgeon took a fire extinguisher to it so Scotland can get on with what really matters. I hope she takes the opportunity to do so at her party’s conference in a few days’ time. If she won’t, we will.”
In an interview last month, the First Minister admitted she didn’t know when a second referendum on Scottish independence would take place.