Scotland politics

Theresa May says election result in Scotland 'saved the union'

Conference event
Image caption Mrs May and Ms Davidson spoke to a gathering of Scottish Conservatives at the party's conference

The result of June's general election in Scotland "saved the union", Prime Minister Theresa May has claimed.

The election saw Mrs May's Conservative Party lose its overall majority at Westminster, but gain 12 seats from the SNP north of the border.

Mrs May told an event at the party's national conference in Manchester that "we didn't have the result we wanted, but together we saved the union".

The SNP said the Tories should focus on saving Scotland from a hard Brexit.

Meanwhile, at a separate fringe event at the conference, Scottish leader Ruth Davidson urged her party to "man up a little bit" and get over its "nervous breakdown".

The general election saw the Conservatives lose ground to Labour in England and Wales, costing them their overall majority in the House of Commons despite gains in Scotland.

The return of 13 seats in Scotland was the party's best since 1983, and the SNP's loss of 21 seats saw First Minister Nicola Sturgeon put her plans for a second independence referendum on hold.

Ms Sturgeon maintains that she has the mandate for a referendum at the end of the Brexit process, but has recently said she does not know what the timetable could be.

'Out of touch'

During a reception for the Scottish Conservative group during the conference in Manchester, Mrs May held the hand of Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson aloft as she told delegates that "together we saved the union".

Ms Davidson then led the assembled group in a chorus of "happy birthday" to the prime minister, who turned 61 on the opening day of the conference.

The event came hours after Ms Davidson's speech to the conference, where she said the SNP had "come crashing down to earth" in the election.

Speaking at a fringe event on Monday, the Scottish Conservative leader said she cannot see herself ever standing for the UK party leadership, adding that it looked like "the loneliest job in the world".

She told delegates just because the Labour Party had a spring in their step, the Tories should not "pack up and go home".

And Ms Davidson said she did not consider standing for a Westminster seat in June's election - arguing that she would not have been able to do her job as Scottish leader if fighting a constituency seat.

In his speech on Monday, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the general election "showed just how badly out of touch Nicola Sturgeon is with public opinion", calling on her to rule out a second referendum "once and for all".

Mr Mundell went on to say that "the only way to guarantee the threat of a second independence referendum is swept off the table once and for all is to install Ruth Davidson as Scotland's first minister".

A spokesman for the SNP said: "We would rather they focus on saving Scotland from a Brexit outcome it neither wants nor voted for."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites