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UK prime minister Theresa May has called on the Scottish Conservatives to keep up the scrutiny on the Scottish National party, and blasted what she called the SNP’s “endless” and damaging obsession with independence.

In a speech to the Scottish Tories on Friday seen as an effort to head of growing nationalists’ demands for a second Scottish referendum, she accused the SNP of being “a party resolutely focused on just one thing: independence.” The SNP, she said “plays politics as if it is a game”.

Mrs May also noted the close trading relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK. “The SNP wants to wrench Scotland out of its biggest market… It simply does not add up,” she said, adding that “a tunnel-vision nationalism that focuses only on independence at any cost sells Scotland short”.

According to the ONS, the EU accounted for 48 per cent of goods exports from the UK in 2016, while “goods imports from the EU were worth more than imports from the rest of the world combined”.

Mrs May also attacked SNP “scaremongering” about the future of jobs, highlighting he shipbuilding industry.

Despite the scaremongering of the SNP and their shameful efforts to use the jobs of workers as a political football, shipbuilding jobs in Scotland will be sustained thanks to UK government orders.

With the SNP calling for fisheries and agriculture policy responsibilities to be handed over to Scotland when Brexit takes place, Mrs May refused to say whether those powers would be devolved to Holyrood, but said London would use “the opportunity of Brexit to ensure that more decisions are devolved back into the hands of the Scottish people”.

“Where the SNP proposes that decision-making should remain in Brussels, we will be using the opportunity of Brexit to ensure that more decisions are devolved back into the hands of the Scottish people.”

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