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Mundell Urges Sturgeon To Stop Starting "Rammies" With The UK Government

The Scotland secretary also said it's "not Nicola Sturgeon's choice" whether or not to hold a second independence referendum.

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David Mundell, the secretary of state for Scotland, has urged first minister Nicola Sturgeon to stop starting "rammies" with the UK government and get on with the job of governing Scotland.

During a speech in Edinburgh on Monday morning, Mundell called for the "resetting" of the relationship between the UK and Scottish governments and said people in Scotland are tired of the "bickering and blame games" between the two administrations.

Mundell, Scotland's only Conservative MP, also said it's not up to Sturgeon whether or not there will be a second independence referendum before 2021, saying the SNP failed to win a mandate for one in this month's Holyrood election.

His speech came the week before a range of new powers are due to be introduced to the Scottish parliament, and he cited to negotiations which led to those powers as an example of how the governments can work together.

"I think [the negotiations] demonstrated agreement can be reached even in the most difficult areas," said Mundell. "But we've got to do it as a matter of routine – it has to be business as usual that we work together on those areas where we are in agreement and not just proceeding immediately to a rammy."

The new powers, which will come into force on 23 May, include the ability to introduce gender balance on public sector boards, change speed limits on Scotland's roads, and open up rail franchises to bids from public sector operators.

Sturgeon with her 62 MSPs.
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Sturgeon with her 62 MSPs.

"I want to make a big offer to the incoming Scottish ministers: Let's reset the relationship between our two governments," said Mundell. "Let's put our political disagreements aside where we possibly can, and put our energies and talents together to deliver a better future for Scotland."

Mundell also all but ruled out allowing the Scottish government to hold another referendum on independence during this Scottish parliament, saying the tentative plans outlined in the SNP's manifesto do not give the party the right to call for another vote.

"It's not Nicola Sturgeon's choice as to whether there will be a second independence referendum," said Mundell. "My position is quite clear, the prime minister's position is quite clear: There is not a mandate for a second referendum in the SNP manifesto.

"Indeed, the votes that many people cast in Scotland's election were votes to ensure that the SNP government did not have a majority and were not in a position to seek to take forward a second referendum."

Responding to Mundell's speech, Commenting, deputy first minister John Swinney said: "We'll work with the UK Government in Scotland's interests where we can, but the SNP will always stand up to the Tories when they're wrong. That is exactly why we were re-elected with an unprecedented third term mandate just over a week ago with more than twice the vote of Ruth Davidson's Tories."

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at

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