Humza Yousaf admits ‘challenging’ time for SNP
The Prime Minister used his first London meeting with Scotland’s new First Minister to reject renewed SNP demands for a second independence referendum. Following the meeting, Humza Yousaf said that Rishi Sunak wouldn’t budge on demands from his devolved government for a second referendum and the ability to change gender ID laws.
The Express understands PM Sunak had an informal chat with Mr Yousaf, during which he updated his Scottish counterpart on the ongoing situation in Sudan.
The Prime Minister also reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting people with the cost of living, and highlighted the support that is going out UK-wide this week.
He asked Mr Yousaf to help the government amplify this available support.
Rishi Sunak reiterated the need for all levels of government to be working together on these priorities, with a relentless and focused approach.
Speaking to the Daily Record after the meeting, Mr Yousaf clarified that this last topic of conversation involved Rishi Sunak once again denying requests for a second Scottish Independence referendum.
The Prime Minister also refused to compromise on the Government’s decision to block controversial reforms to gender self-ID, which Nicola Sturgeon tried introducing prior to her downfall.
This evening the PM endorsed the ongoing Daily Express campaign to protect women’s rights and women-only spaces.
Writing for the paper, Mr Sunak said: “As a father, women’s rights are personal to me. And as Prime Minister, it is my job to ensure that women are given every protection the state can put in place.”
It is therefore unsurprising he refused to budge on the Government’s opposition to allowing trans women into women-only spaces, as the Scottish Government wants to do.
Humza Yousaf also said the pair spoke about an impending 10.1% tax increase on Scottish whisky, saying the PM “didn’t give an indication” he would move on the issue.
Mr Yousaf also used the meeting to complain about the Foreign Office increasing scrutiny of meetings conducted abroad by Scottish Government ministers.
Mr Yousaf told the Record: “I made it very clear that I thought the undermining of devolution was unacceptable”.
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“I did not appreciate the fact that the FCDO were trying to curtail our external engagement,” he added.
“I told the Prime Minister that I would not stop seeking the section 30 order because that’s the democratic mandate that we have.
“I asked that he grant an exemption to the internal markets act within weeks to ensure the viability of the scheme.
“We spoke about the cost of living crisis and I urged for more targeted support for low income households as well and he gave me a very helpful briefing on the situation in Sudan, which I was very keen to hear about.”
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