DAVID Cameron has insisted there will not be another Scottish independence referendum as, in the wake of Labour's devastating election defeat, Nicola Sturgeon claimed the SNP would now be the main opposition to the Tory Government at Westminster.


In language that will anger the Nationalist leadership, the Prime Minister, attending the VE Day 70th anniversary celebrations, said: "We had a referendum. Respect and trust should be at the heart of our system and that's what we did. Scotland voted emphatically to stay in the United Kingdom, which was an affirmation of what a great country this is."

He then declared: "There isn't going to be another referendum. We had the referendum and the SNP aren't pushing for another referendum, actually. Nicola Sturgeon said that vote in the General Election was not about another referendum.

"Now what we need to do is bring the United Kingdom together. We are going to do that by delivering the devolution settlement in Wales, delivering the devolution settlement in Scotland, keeping all the pledges that were made."

Speaking of renewing and refreshing the United Kingdom, Mr Cameron, who has sought to readopt the mantle of One Nation politics, added: "Today is a good day to remember just what the United Kingdom stands for and what it has done. The United Kingdom stood alone against Hitler. That's what these people did."

Last month, the PM said the independence issue had been "settled for a generation" only for Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, to distance herself from his remarks.

She said she believed in national self-determination and would "absolutely not" advise Mr Cameron to use Westminster's constitutional powers to block a second referendum, if there was a mandate for one at a Holyrood election.

Earlier yesterday, the First Minister conceded another referendum was not on the "immediate horizon" and brushed aside reports of a rift with her predecessor Alex Salmond, who said the election result had moved independence nearer. The FM made clear there was "no disagreement between Alex and I on this; this General Election campaign was not about independence".

But she also stressed Mr Cameron, who she is expected to meet soon, must accept that, in wake of the SNP landslide, the extra devolved powers, agreed to just months ago following the Smith Commission process, should be expanded further.

"Scotland," she declared, "voted for change and that has to be heeded."

As Labour began its post-mortem on its crushing defeat, the SNP leader told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "It's likely, given that Labour are entering a period of introspection and questioning their very purpose in life, the SNP is going to be the principle opposition to the Conservatives."

Ms Sturgeon made clear that the Prime Minister could not ignore the election result in Scotland, where the SNP swept up 56 of the 59 seats.

"Our manifesto set out very clearly that we would want to move to full fiscal responsibility; clearly, that will take a number of years to implement.

"What we will argue for is priority devolution of powers over business taxes, employment, the minimum wage, welfare, because these are the levers we need to grow our economy faster; to get more people into work paying taxes and lifting people out of poverty," she added.

But a No 10 spokesman flatly ruled out any further powers.

He said: "The Prime Minister has been clear that the right approach to further devolution in Scotland is as set out in the Smith Commission and agreed by all the parties. The focus now should be on delivering those."

The New Scotland Bill, containing the Commission's recommendations, primarily giving Holyrood more tax powers, will be included in the UK Government's Queen's Speech on May 27; it is set to be one of the first pieces of legislation to be enacted.

Ms Sturgeon said there would have to be a new framework agreement between London and Edinburgh on delivering full fiscal responsibility.

"There will be questions about how much Scotland contributed to continued reserved responsibilities like defence; how much we contributed to debt interest payments. There are clearly some big discussions to be had," she said.

"My starting point, though, is Scotland's voice has to be heard."

In Whitehall, Mr Cameron continued to build his new Cabinet, appointing Scot Michael Gove to serve as Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling as Commons Leader and Mark Harper as Chief Whip while Nicky Morgan retained her role as Education Secretary.

More appointments are expected to be announced today, possibly including David Mundell, the sole Scottish Tory MP, as the new Scottish Secretary.

Meantime in the election aftermath, a chorus of criticism began to break out within the Labour Party about its campaign.

As Liz Kendall, the Shadow Health Minister, became the first person to confirm she was standing to succeed Ed Miliband, Lord Mandelson, the former Business Secretary, savaged his party's strategy, saying ditching New Labour rather than revitalising it had been "a terrible mistake".

Asked what was missing from the Labour manifesto, the peer replied: "An economic policy."