Theresa May has said Britons are "one people" at heart, as she urged Scots to back the Conservatives in the General Election.

She pledged to deliver for the whole of the United Kingdom if voted into power on June 8.

With recent elections showing Scots coming back to the Conservatives, she told voters: "Come with me as I lead Britain.

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"Strengthen my hand as I fight to strengthen our Union."

The PM was speaking after her party's Scottish leader, Ruth Davidson, made a direct pitch to Labour voters disillusioned under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

"Let me do a job for you," Ms Davidson asked them.

The Prime Minister told Scots it is time to leave behind the "old tribal politics".

She urged people not to think about who they voted for in the past, calling on them to instead consider "who you want to lead our country in the future, who will get the best deal for the whole of the UK from Brexit".

She added: "It is time to come together in the national interest, united in our desire to make a success of Brexit."

Scots voted by a margin of 62% to 38% to remain in the European Union last June - a result which led Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to call for a second vote on independence.


Mrs May said: "I have been clear that now is not the time for another independence referendum.

"This is a time to pull together, not apart.

"A vote for any other party is a vote to weaken our Union, to weaken our negotiating hand in Europe and to put our future prosperity and security at risk."

She claimed that Mr Corbyn's statement that a second independence referendum would be "absolutely fine" showed he is "too weak" to stand up for the United Kingdom.

Speaking to activists in Edinburgh, the Prime Minister also warned that depending on the results of the General Election, the Labour leader could be "propped up by the Scottish nationalists".

Read more: Protecting Union is my personal priority, PM vows in plea to Scots voters

Mrs May told voters north of the border: "A vote for me and my team is a vote for strong and stable leadership.

"Every vote for me and my team will strengthen my hand in the negotiations to come.

"Every vote will help me get a better deal for the whole United Kingdom.

"And every vote from Scotland will strengthen my hand when I stand up for our United Kingdom here at home."

She insisted "only the Conservative and Unionist Party has the strength and credibility to stand up to the nationalists and defend our United Kingdom".

Mrs May was speaking at the launch of the Scottish Conservatives' manifesto, which came a day after she unveiled the party's General Election blueprint for the UK as a whole.

That included a pledge to deliver a ''strong and stable Union, with no divisive Scottish referendum at this time''.

Read more: SNP, Tories and Labour enjoy small gains in latest election polling

The Tories in Scotland are seeing their popularity grow, with the party now ahead of Labour north of the border.

While the 2015 election saw voters elect just one Scottish Conservative MP, the party is now targeting several seats north of the border - and could even oust some high-profile SNP politicians including depute leader Angus Robertson.

Mrs May used her speech to hit out at the SNP's "tunnel-vision obsession" with independence, claiming their record of 10 years in government in Scotland is in contrast with a "Unionist government at the service of ordinary, working families".

With recent figures showing less than half of Scotland's 13 and 14-year-olds are performing well in writing, the Prime Minister said: "After a decade of SNP neglect, standards in Scottish education - which were once the envy of the civilised world - have become a national scandal.

"The SNP's tunnel-vision obsession with independence above everything else has meant young people in Scotland are being let down.

"Education might be a devolved matter - but I still care very deeply about the life chances of Scottish children.

Read more: Scottish Tories will not follow May's lead on means-testing Winter Fuel Payment

"As Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, I care just as much about the futures of children from Ayrshire and Angus as I do about the futures of children in Kent or Carlisle.

"I want everyone in our country to have the chance to live secure and prosperous lives, and reach their full potential.

"That is because of a simple truth. Across the United Kingdom, we may be four nations, but at heart we are one people. We all have a stake in each other's success."

At a period of "national change" for Britain because of Brexit, Mrs May made clear a "stronger Union is a personal priority".

She added: "As long as I am Prime Minister I will never stand by and let our Union drift apart."

She also stressed that leaving the EU would result in a "better future for our fishermen", with the UK no longer part of the Common Fisheries Policy.

In addition, she said "ineffective" EU fund schemes would be replaced with a "new targeted scheme" which would have the sole purpose of reducing inequalities within and between the four nations of the UK.

"We will take back control of structural funds and use them to strengthen our Union and reduce inequalities between our communities," the Prime Minister said.

Read more: Protecting Union is my personal priority, PM vows in plea to Scots voters

"Now more than ever, Britain needs a clear plan and the determination and the will to see it through.

"And now more than ever, we need a government committed heart and soul to strengthening and sustaining our precious Union of nations and people."

Ms Davidson called on voters to use the election to "bring the SNP down to size".

She also pledged action from the Tories to help tackle some of the issues the country is facing, promising a "house-building revolution in Scotland so young people in their 20s and 30s can actually realise the chance of a home of their own".

The Scottish Tory leader also said there would be more childcare for families from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, and "immediate action to tackle the mess the SNP is making of our education system".

The party's Scottish manifesto calls for a "reset" of the education reforms under Curriculum for Excellence.

A key part of her address was a direct appeal to Labour voters, arguing that in "great swathes" of Scotland it is only her party that can take on the SNP.

With Labour having being forced to suspend all of its councillors on Aberdeen City Council after they formed a coalition with the Tories against party orders, Ms Davidson said: "This week the Scottish Labour Party - already weakened - has entered a state of civil war."

She told Labour supporters: "The truth is, your party has left you, not the other way around.

"It may well find its way back. But you know - and I know - it won't be at this election."

The Scottish Conservatives are a party of the "centre ground" she said, adding: "We are committed to workers' rights, boosting low pay, getting a good deal for our fishermen and improving the education of our young people so cruelly let down by this Scottish Government.

"So, together, with your help, we can lead the fightback against the SNP and stop Nicola Sturgeon trying to pull our country apart.

"We will stand up for the quiet majority in Scotland who, like us, have had enough of the SNP's games and are simply looking for somebody to take them on."

Both Mrs May and Ms Davidson were challenged to define the notion of "public consent" for a second independence referendum.

The manifesto states: "In order for a referendum to be fair, legal and decisive, it cannot take place until the Brexit process has played out and it should not take place unless there is public consent for it to happen."

The Prime Minister refused to be drawn when she was asked on two occasions to explain how public consent would be measured.

She said: "Talking about a second independence referendum at this time is trying to pull us apart, just at the very time that as a nation, as the United Kingdom, we should be pulling together."

Pressed on the issue, Ms Davidson said: "Nicola Sturgeon wanted to tie this (a second referendum) to a date, she wanted this to be in the next 18 months.

"We're saying that it is not about that, it's about twin principles. The principle is you cannot ask people to make a decision about the constitutional future of our country when you don't know what that future looks like.

"You don't know what Brexit looks like, how it plays out, and you don't know what independence looks like because they haven't outlined that either.

"We've seen time and time again that there is no public consent for it, people don't want to be dragged back there.

"This isn't about timings, dates, parliaments, whatever, this is about the principle.

"The best example we have is back in 2011/12 where we had every member of the Scottish Parliament voting for it because we all recognised that there was a mandate for it to happen, it had 92% support across the country, so there was public and parliamentary/political consent there.

"We need something a lot more like what we had in 2011/12 before I think the UK Government should give its consent."

On the same issue, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "We're not setting a definitive set of criteria - what we're saying is that public consent has to be apparent.

"Having a majority in the Scottish Parliament doesn't count in the simple sense because having a referendum is an agreement between the UK Government and the Scottish Government."

Mr Mundell said "sustained support" from the public would be needed, but when asked to define this, he added: "We're not getting into that."

Mr Robertson said: "Theresa May flew into Edinburgh today to deliver one simple message to the people of Scotland - get back in your box.

"This carbon copy manifesto confirms beyond doubt that Tory MPs from Scotland will simply rubber-stamp Theresa May's plans and endorse the damage she is determined to do to households and our economy.

"The Tories have done more to divide society, create instability and destroy opportunities for young people than any other government in living memory - now they are asking people to vote for them to fix the problems that they have created.

"The fact is, any Tory MPs elected in Scotland will put Theresa May's extreme Brexit before the jobs in Scotland they should be protecting.

"By contrast, the SNP will stand up to Tory threats on jobs, our economy and funding for our public services - and every vote for the SNP will strengthen Nicola Sturgeon's hand to ensure Scotland has a seat at the Brexit table."

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: "Theresa May said that a vote for her is a vote for a better future, but the reality is that a vote for the Tories is an endorsement of a hard Brexit and the horrific rape clause.

"It is the Tories' reckless Brexit gamble that has given the SNP the excuse it has been looking for to try to force another divisive independence referendum.

"Rather than fix the problems they have created in our country, the Conservatives are intent on continuing to divide our country and increase the risk of a second independence referendum.

"In a majority of seats across the country, it is only Labour that can defeat the SNP and send Nicola Sturgeon a message that Scotland doesn't want another divisive independence referendum."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "Liberal Democrats want Scotland at the heart of the UK and the UK at the heart of Europe.

"That's the best way of securing the immigration that we need to help Scottish businesses thrive.

"The Conservative pursuit of a damaging hard Brexit threatens our businesses and universities by starving them of the staff and workers they need."

Speaking about the Tory manifesto, he added: "Their cuts to pensions, social care and free school meals shows that the Conservative Party is mean-spirited and cold-hearted.

"It is lurching to the right to capture votes from Ukip. The Conservative-Ukip pursuit of a damaging hard Brexit will be damaging to our security, jobs and the NHS."