/Tories totally opposed to new independence vote

Tories totally opposed to new independence vote

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Media captionJackson Carlaw was adamant he would not support another independence vote

The new Scottish Conservative leader has reiterated he is “totally opposed” to another independence referendum.

Jackson Carlaw said there should not be another vote for a generation – even if polls showed support for independence.

Mr Carlaw denied that his party was split over calls for a fresh ballot.

Responding to a report in the Herald newspaper that the Scottish Tories are divided on whether Scots should have another say on independence, he said there was “no split” in the party.

The paper claimed that “growing numbers” of senior party members support calls for indyref2 – against the wishes of Mr Carlaw.

But he said his party was “totally opposed” to another referendum on independence. “We are united”, he added.

‘Once in a generation’

Mr Carlaw, who was confirmed as the new leader on Friday, criticised calls for another referendum on the grounds that in 2014 it was said to be a “once in a generation opportunity“.

He told the Politics Scotland programme: “I don’t know how you define a generation… but I do know what a generation isn’t… it’s not five years and it’s not even a decade.”

“The once in a generation vote should be respected,” he said.

Pressed on whether it would be democratic to insist on refusing to support an independence referendum even if voters kept electing parties who campaigned for it, Mr Carlaw argued that it was the SNP who were being undemocratic.

He said: “Why my status as a democrat? What about the status of the Scottish National Party who have ignored the result of the 2014 referendum every waking day since it took place? I am not going to change my position.”

Bridge to Northern Ireland

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Boris Johnson has described a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland as a “very interesting idea”

He also spoke positively about the idea of building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

“I’m not opposed to it… We have got to be bold and imaginative,” he said.

Mr Carlaw argued that Boris Johnson’s proposal to look into the viability of a bridge between Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway and Larne in Co Antrim was a sign that he wanted investment “across the whole of the United Kingdom, not just in some parts of it”.

He added that he was “encouraged” by the response from the government in Northern Ireland and said he wanted to continue discussions with Downing Street to make sure that the “union is something that works for everybody”.

“These are things we should be prepared to look at,” he added.

“There are bigger bridges than that elsewhere in the world, lots of people scoffed about them but I think we have to be imaginative going forward.”

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