Sunak to head to Scotland in hours for urgent Sturgeon talks

Sturgeon clashes with reporter over independence questions

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Rishi Sunak is set to hold face-to-face talks with Nicola Sturgeon tomorrow as he heads to Scotland in a bid to counter her independence push. The Prime Minister is travelling north of the border on Thursday for the two-day trip.

Mr Sunak is planning to hold discussions with the Scottish First Minister during the visit, the Telegraph reports.

The pair are expected to meet on Thursday but exact timings could yet be changed.

During his trip, the PM will also unveil the locations of two new “green” freeports, expected to be near Inverness and Edinburgh.

The announcement on freeports, which are low tax areas near shipping ports or airports aimed at boosting economic activity, is reportedly part of a strategy to highlight the benefits of Scotland being part of the UK.

The Prime Minister’s approach with Ms Sturgeon is a stark contrast to that of his predecessor Liz Truss.

Mr Sunak spoke to the SNP leader on his first day in No 10 and met her in his first month, while Ms Truss did not talk to her once during her fleeting premiership.

It comes as the Scottish First Minister is pushing for a second independence referendum.

But the Supreme Court ruled last year the Scottish Government cannot stage a second ballot without Westminster’s consent.

Earlier this week, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross hit out at the SNP for focusing on independence in the first Holyrood debate of the new year.

He said it was “completely bonkers” that Holyrood’s first debate of 2023 will be about breaking up the UK and not the “crisis” the NHS is facing.

Mr Ross said: “We’re starting right now with a crisis in our NHS, we know there’s the potential for our education system to suffer as a result of strike action, we know there is this real, cost-of-living crisis that is going to continue.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen in Ukraine, we don’t know what’s going to happen for the remainder of the year, we know public services are struggling, they need more support.

“Yet the first debate we’re having in Holyrood is independence.

“That’s the first thing the SNP/Green Government think is important to speak about in the Parliament just down the road just next week.”

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