RISHI Sunak has said he made it “completely firm” with Humza Yousaf in their first meeting that he would never allow an independence referendum.

The Prime Minister also said there was no case for Holyrood to have any more powers.

Mr Yousaf asked Mr Sunak for a transfer of referendum powers to Holyrood when the pair met at the Commons on Monday, but was immediately rebuffed.

In a Q&A with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, Mr Sunak said he wanted to work constructively with the Scottish Government while also standing firm on the Union.

Asked about his meeting with the First Minister, he said: “When I saw him I was completely firm about independence, and I will always be completely firm.

“That’s not a priority for the Scottish people, as he himself admitted over the summer.

“I think he said there’s no sustained majority for independence, and they would do well to remember that, and stop being distracted and obsessing with it.”

“We can’t devolve and forget. Scototland already is the most powerful devolved assembly anywhere in the world. So all this talk of needing more powers is clearly not appropriate.

“The SNP and the Scottish Government don’t even use the powers they already have. So we can stop talking about any more.”

He said his government was working on updating data on public services so that it could be compared across the UK, helping to hold the Scottish Government to account.

He also said he wanted more decisions to be made by communities and councils, with Holyrood bypassed on levelling up funding, for example.

“It’s a way to demonstrate the benefit of the UK Government,” he said.

He also warned the higher income tax levels for middle earners in Scotland were hurting business..

He said: “It is having an impact. When I’m here and I talk to businesses and I talk to people they raise it proactively with me.

“It’s not a great tagline - Scotland  is the highest tax place inside the United Kingdom.

“It’s not a great advert.”

Earlier, in a speech that lasted less than seven minutes, Mr Sunak condemned the SNP’s “record of failure” in office.

He said: “At the beginning of the year I set out five priorities: to half inflation; grow the economy; reduce debt; cut waiting lists; and to stop the boats.

“I know we can move forward and make sure those things happen.

“I am confident that that is what we will do.

“I know that because I only promise what I can deliver and I will deliver what I promise.

“And Scotland is at the heart of my plans for delivery.”

The Prime Minister highlighted £1 billion being spent in Scotland as part of his Government’s levelling up agenda, and plans to create two new freeports north of the border where it is hoped tax breaks will attract investment, increase trade and create jobs.

He told party members: “Under my leadership we will never, ever forget we are the Conservative and Unionist Party, and working together, all of us proudly as Conservatives, we will deliver for each and every part of our precious union. 

Since Nicola Sturgeon quit as first minister and SNP leader, the party has been rocked by a police investigation into its finances which saw her husband – and former party chief executive – Peter Murrell arrested, before being released without charge.

As part of the investigation, police were seen removing a luxury campervan said to be owned by the SNP, with Mr Sunak quipping that Ms Sturgeon is currently learning to drive “because someone’s got to drive that motorhome after all”.

He said: “If the SNP can’t sort out the mess Nicola Sturgeon left their party, how on earth can they sort out the mess Nicola Sturgeon has left Scotland’s public services in?

“What we need is a government in Holyrood that is focused on Scottish people’s real priorities, not constitutional abstractions.

“The SNP may not be able to find some auditors for their party, but we can certainly audit their record in government.

“Just take a look at the education attainment gap, the very thing Nicola Sturgeon said they should be judged on, a gap widening.

“Violent crime rising, and they can’t even deliver the ferries they promised the islanders. It is a record of failure.”

SNP Westminster Leader Stephen Flynn MP said: "The Tories have no mandate in Scotland. Rishi Sunak should be apologising for the disastrous mess the Tory government has made of the economy - and for the damage he's caused to families, who are paying through the nose for Brexit and the Tory cost of living crisis.

"The SNP is the only party offering a real alternative to the Tories. Voting SNP is the best way to beat the Tories in Scotland at the next election - and the only way to get rid of Westminster Tory governments for good with independence."

Green MSP Ross Greer said: “This was a predictably terrible speech by a failed Prime Minister who is woefully out of touch and out of time. It had no substance or ideas and showed a total contempt for people in Scotland. It may only have lasted a mere eight minutes, but even Tory delegates will have forgotten it in half that time.

“The Tory mask has definitely slipped when it comes to their hostility to devolution."