Leadsom rules out second Scottish referendum – despite saying ‘never say never’

Conservative Party leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom has ruled out holding a second Scottish independence referendum – less than 24 hours after saying she would “never say never” to the prospect of such a ballot.

The former leader of the House of Commons U-turned on that to insist there would be “no second referendums” on either Brexit or independence if she becomes prime minister.

As the race to succeed Theresa May intensified, with favourite Boris Johnson formally launching his leadership bid, Mrs Leadsom clarified her position.

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She tweeted: “There will be no second referendums on my watch – not on Scottish Independance and not on EU membership. I respect the result of referendums!”

Mrs Leadsom had come under fire from some pro-UK politicians after she initially said on Tuesday she would “never say never” to the prospect of another vote on Scotland’s place in the UK.

The Conservative MP had told a Westminster lunch it would be “disrespectful” to the Scottish Parliament for her to rule out a referendum completely if she became prime minister, as she insisted she was a “big believer in devolution”.

Asked about if she would allow another independence vote, Mrs Leadsom had stated: “I am not going to stand here and utterly rule it out because I think that that is disrespectful.

“But I would very strongly fight against a second referendum, which I don’t think is in the interest of Scotland and it’s definitely not in the interests of the UK.”