Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has said he is the prime minister Nicola Sturgeon “least wants” because of his commitment to keeping Scotland in the UK.
The Foreign Secretary visited Peterhead in Aberdeenshire on Sunday, where he spoke to fishing industry leaders at the port and outlined his priorities if he is elected the UK’s new leader.
He said: “I’m the prime minister Nicola Sturgeon least wants, and for a very simple reason – I believe in the Union with every fibre of my being and I will never allow the Union to be broken up as prime minister.
“Unlike Nicola Sturgeon, I’m on the side of the Scottish people who say they don’t want another divisive referendum, they want their SNP government to focus on health and education and things that matter to ordinary Scottish families, not things that divide them.
“An independence referendum is not what the people of Scotland want and I listen to the people of Scotland.”
Mr Hunt added: “Talking to the skipper of the ship I’ve just been round – he wants to get on and grow his business and not be sucked back into all that bitter division.
“I think it’s time that Nicola Sturgeon did what the people of Scotland want, which is to focus on health and education and all the things she was elected to deliver.”
Mr Hunt toured the Westro, a fishing boat owned and skippered by James West, 42, who told the MP he had had enough of referendums.
As the pair ate haddock and chips together, Mr Hunt asked the captain what he wanted in a prime minister and Mr West replied “someone who’ll just get on with it”.
Mr Hunt was later due to meet local people in Aberdeen, and pay a visit to his 99-year-old great aunt Betty.
Asked about a recent poll which suggested a majority of Conservative party members wanted Brexit even if it meant Scotland gaining independence, Mr Hunt replied: “I don’t actually believe that polling.
“Conservative party members I know are absolutely passionate about our precious Union.
“What they are is incredibly frustrated that we have haven’t delivered Brexit, and I think that polling reflects the fact that people are just angry it’s taken so long.”
Asked if he would choose Brexit or the Union, he said: “The Union every time.”