Theresa May has described Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to call a second independence referendum as “deeply regrettable” in her first comments on the shock announcement by the Scottish nationalist leader.

Speaking from the cabinet room at Downing Street, Mrs May told Sky News: “The tunnel vision that the SNP has shown today is deeply regrettable. It sets Scotland on a course for more uncertainty and division, creating huge uncertainty. This is at a time when the evidence is that the Scottish people – the majority of the Scottish people – do not want a second independence referendum.”

The Conservative prime minister said she wanted “an agreement that is going to work for the whole of the UK and that includes the Scottish people”.

She added: “That’s why we’ve been working closely with the devolved administrations. We’ve been listening to their proposals and recognising the many areas of common ground that we have, such as protecting workers rights and our security from crime and terrorism.”

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