Rishi Sunak to tell Nicola Sturgeon to help build a UK not 'defined by division'


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Rishi Sunak will tell Nicola Sturgeon to help him build a UK not ‘defined by division’ as he prepares to meet the First Minister for the first time. The Prime Minister will meet the First Minister during the British-Irish Council meeting of UK and devolved government leaders in Blackpool on Thursday (November 10).

Ms Sturgeon has said she intends to hold a second independence referendum on October 19 next year, but can only do so if the the Supreme Court agrees Holyrood has the powers to do so.

Mr Sunak has ruled out a second independence referendum, stressing the need for “constructive working” with the Scottish Government after his predecessor Liz Truss said the First Minister should be “ignored”.

The Scottish Daily Express reports that in a plea to Ms Sturgeon and other devolved government colleagues in Wales and Northern Ireland, Mr Sunak is expected to say: “We face huge challenges from global economic headwinds to war in Europe.

“So let’s be pragmatic. Let’s work together in our shared interests. Let’s deliver for all our people across these great islands – and build a future defined not by division, but by unity and hope.”

Mr Blackford added: “In the middle of a Tory cost-of-living crisis, the Scotland Office is now to be led by a baron in waiting, biding his time until he can cash in on the £300-a-day job in the House of Lords.

“He should be sacked from the Cabinet and the people of Dumfries and Galloway should be given the chance to sack the Tories in a by-election.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Ahead of the 38th British-Irish Council this Friday, the First Minister will hold bilateral talks with the Prime Minister in Blackpool on Thursday afternoon and take part in a meeting of the Prime Minister and Heads of Devolved Government Council immediately following that.

“The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the cost of living crisis, the need to avoid damaging austerity in the upcoming Autumn Statement and the importance of respecting the right of the people of Scotland to choose their own constitutional future.”

Meanwhile, a new report has found nearly half (46 percent) of people in Scotland have found it difficult to make an appointment with their GP in the last 12 months.

The Scottish Government and the Scottish Centre for Social Research surveyed 1,136 people on their expectations of primary care for the report entitled Public Understanding And Expectations Of Primary Care In Scotland.

Data was compiled between February 4 and March 7 this year.

A majority (92 percent) of respondents reported they had been in contact with at least one primary care service in the last 12 months, which included speaking to their GP, visiting a pharmacy, dentist, optician or out-of-hours service.

Of those who had not used a primary care service in the last 12 months – 29 percent of respondents – 17 percent said they did not want to burden the NHS.

A third of respondents said it was difficult to make themselves available for appointments during standard opening times.



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