'No economic case' for Scottish independence - Theresa May

LONDON ENGLAND- MARCH 5  In this handout image provided by the BBC Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond appears on The Andrew Marr Show

A day later, a spokeswoman for May said that the United Kingdom government did not see any changes in public opinion that could serve as a reason for holding the second referendum on Scottish independence.

There is growing speculation that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon could use the start of Brexit negotiations later this month as the premise to launch a new bid for independence.

Speaking at the Scottish Conservative Conference in Glasgow, May said she wanted "to make clear that strengthening and sustaining the bonds that unite us is a personal priority for me", reminding the audience that her first trip outside London after taking office was to Scotland.

The prime minister's stance will be read by Sturgeon and the Scottish National party as an open challenge to call the threatened referendum on independence, suggesting the Tories are confident they can defeat the SNP.

The prime minister added that, despite warning from Sturgeon this week that the Conservatives were launching an "attack on devolution", no powers will be taken away from the Scottish parliament after Brexit.

May said nationalists play "politics as if it is a game", at a time when she was committed to maintaining the unity of Britain ahead of its exit from the European Union.

The "sheer intransigence" of the British government over Brexit could lead to a second Scottish independence referendum, the head of the devolved Scottish government said on Tuesday.

"We are four nations, but at heart one people", she said.

Whilst the recent Supreme Court ruling in January did not specify consultation of these devolved governments, the UK Government as matter of goodwill, should take into account the views of Scotland and Northern Ireland which voted to remain in the EU.

She said the SNP was "a party resolutely focused on just one thing: independence".

The Prime Minister used a speech to declare that Scottish Government will not be getting control over policy areas such as fishing and agriculture in the wake of Brexit.

"I don't think people want a referendum today", May said Thursday in a television interview with BBC Scotland.

The First Minister accused United Kingdom ministers of acting with "obstinacy and intransigence" by refusing to accept suggestions from their Scottish counterparts on Brexit negotiations.

In last June's Brexit referendum, the people of Scotland voted by 62 percent to 38 percent in favor of remaining in the EU.

"It is hugely ironic for Theresa May to accuse others of treating politics like a game - this is a Prime Minister who treats European Union nationals as bargaining chips, and who gambles the future of United Kingdom industry, pitting companies against each other as we move closer towards a hard Tory Brexit cliff edge", SNP Westminster Leader Angus Roberson MP said.