Michael Gove says Tories will not allow SNP to ‘overturn referendum result’ on independence

PUBLISHED: 11:01 15 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 15 December 2019

Michael Gove appears on Sky News. Photograph: Sky.

Michael Gove appears on Sky News. Photograph: Sky.

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Senior Conservative cabinet member Michael Gove ruled out holding another referendum on Scottish independence despite the SNP increasing the number of seats in the House of Commons.

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The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said the Tories would "absolutely" not hold another public vote on the matter during the course of the Parliament regardless of how Scotland votes in the 2021 Holyrood election.

He told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "We were told in 2014 that would be a choice for a generation, we are not going to have an independence referendum on Scotland," said Gove.

The MP for Surrey Heath was unable to say whether two incoming Tory MPs who face allegations relating to anti-Semitism will have the whip suspended while investigations are ongoing.

When asked about Sally-Ann Hart in Hastings and Rye, Gove said: "I think that that particular case is currently under investigation and I shouldn't say anything about it until the investigation is concluded.

"It is a cause of concern but what I cannot do is pass judgment here until that investigation is concluded."

Asked about Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, Gove said: "Questions as to who takes the Conservative whip are for the chief whip but I'm not aware that there is any question over Mr Anderson's membership of the party or his being eligible for the whip."

Gove insisted that the next phase of Brexit negotiations will be concluded by the end of 2020.

He said the discussions on the UK's future relationship with the EU "will be concluded next year".

"Quite a lot of the details that we need to negotiate is already laid out in the political declaration, so a lot of work has been done," said Gove.

"And as a number of people have pointed out, there are areas where the European Union's interests and the United Kingdom's interests are already closely aligned, so I'm confident that we will be able not just to leave the EU on January 31 but also to conclude all the details of a new relationship in short order."

He said he would not get into "speculation" about whether the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be brought back to the House of Commons before Christmas, but said it would be voted on in "relatively short order" so it can be passed by January 31.

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