June 11, 2019 / 2:08 PM / 14 days ago

PM candidate Leadsom against second Scottish referendum, but 'never say never'

British Conservative Andrea Leadsom speaks during the launch of her campaign for the Conservative Party leadership, in London, Britain June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Andrea Leadsom, a candidate to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, said on Tuesday she would fight against Scotland holding a second independence referendum, but that she could “never say never” to granting one.

Scotland voted against independence from the rest of the United Kingdom in a 2014 referendum, but nationalists have continued to press for a second vote.

Asked at a lunch for journalists in parliament whether she would refuse to allow another vote if the Scottish parliament voted for one, Leadsom said: “In reality all of these things would be up for negotiation ... I don’t think most people in Scotland would want that to happen but I would never say never.

“I do not think there should be another independence referendum in Scotland,” she added. “On the other hand I am a big believer in devolution and so ... I am not going to stand here and utterly rule it out because I think that is disrespectful but I would very strongly fight against a second referendum.”

The government has consistently said it considers the matter closed, and there should be no re-run of the 2014 referendum.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper, Writing by William James; editing by Stephen Addison

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