Michael Gove has insisted that the priorities of the Scottish Government should be recovery and that any circumstances in which Boris Johnson might agree to another referendum are 'not an issue at the moment'. 

The Cabinet Office Minister told Sky News that the UK and Scottish governments should “concentrate on the things that unite us” rather than “constitutional wrangling” over a second independence referendum.

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Asked whether the Westminster government would block a second referendum, Mr Gove told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “No, what’re working on doing at the moment is working together to deal with all the challenges that we face across the whole United Kingdom.

“If we get sucked into a conversation about referenda and constitutions then we are diverting attention from the issues that are most important to the people in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.

“I hope that what people want from a Holyrood government, and also from the Westminster government, is a commitment to work together on these issues.

“So, instead of concentrating on the things that divide, let’s concentrate on the things that unite and let’s concentrate on all of us to work together to serve the people that just vote for us.”

Following the return of a pro-independence majority in the Scottish election, Mr Gove added it was “a slightly skewed set of priorities to imagine that that is the most important issue” in the light of the pandemic recovery.

Pressed on whether the UK Government would look to block legislation from the Scottish Parliament pushing for a second referendum, Mr Gove said: “We are not going to go there.”

Asked whether there are any circumstances when the Prime Minister would agree to a second referendum on Scottish independence, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “It’s not an issue for the moment.

HeraldScotland:

“Of course, the people of Scotland, as we saw in the referendum in 2014, they have that right, but it is absolutely important that we concentrate now on the issues in front of us.

“Of course, one of the things to bear in mind is that while Nicola Sturgeon obviously secured a good result, the SNP did not get a majority in this election as they did in 2011.

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“In 2011 the SNP under Alex Salmond got a majority, a referendum then followed. It’s important to remember that at that time every party in the Scottish Parliament thought that it was appropriate to hold a referendum then.”