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