Sturgeon hails 'constructive' meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told Prime Minister Rishi Sunak she intends to honour her party's manifesto pledge to hold a second independence referendum during talks held in Blackpool yesterday.
The leaders met as part of the first meeting of the Devolved Government's Council and ahead of today's British-Irish Council, with a spokesperson for the Scottish Government saying the talks had been "constructive and cordial".
"The two leaders discussed a range of topics, including the need to work together on the cost of living crisis," the spokesperson said.
"Ahead of the chancellor’s Autumn Statement the First Minister emphasised the need for benefits to rise in line with inflation to support the most vulnerable and for substantial additional investment to be made by the chancellor in the health service.
“Given the extreme pressure being faced by public services like the NHS, the First Minister said additional funding for devolved governments was urgently needed to support people, services, and fair public sector pay uplifts, following the double-digit inflation that has eroded the Scottish Government’s budget since its allocation last year when inflation was at three per cent.
“The First Minister made clear she intends to honour the manifesto commitment and the electoral mandate for an independence referendum and that the Scottish Government remains ready and willing to negotiate a process to enable that to happen.”
Sunak tweeted a photograph of him and levelling up secretary Michael Gove meeting Sturgeon, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford joining remotely. He said it was "great" to meet the first ministers.
"Teamwork, absolute focus and collective effort will be required to deal with the shared challenges faced by people across the UK," he said.
Former prime minister Liz Truss, who said during her election campaign that she would "ignore" Sturgeon, did not meet or speak to the first minister during her brief tenure.