Humza Yousaf meets Rishi Sunak

The First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf has used his first 20-minute “informal” meeting with the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to demand the power to hold an independence referendum.

Humza Yousaf told Rishi Sunak to ‘respect the democratic wishes’ of the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Yousaf also used his first face-to-face meeting as First Minister with Mr. Sunak to protest the Foreign Secretary’s crackdown on Scottish National Party (SNP) ministers using meetings with overseas governments to promote independence and attack Brexit.

The Telegraph reported last month that James Cleverly (Foreign Office chief) was to write to Britain’s embassies to remind them that ‘a UK diplomat should be present during meetings between SNP ministers and foreign governments.’

Whitehall insiders highlighted concerns that the Scottish Government is using Foreign and Commonwealth Office resources and relationships to set up the meetings, only to use them to talk down Britain.

Mr. Yousaf demanded referendum powers in his talks with the Prime Minister despite Mike Russell, the SNP’s president, stating the party is facing its biggest crisis in 50 years and independence could not be achieved “right now”.

Referring to the legislative device used to transfer powers for a referendum, a spokesman for the First Minister said he had “made clear that he expects the PM to respect the democratic wishes of Scotland’s Parliament by granting a Section 30 order”.

The spokesman also said: “The First Minister raised concerns around UK Government attacks on devolution, including the Foreign Secretary’s clumsy intervention on Scottish Government activity abroad and comments on devolution from Lord Frost.”

Mr Yousaf protested a 10.1 per cent rise in duty on Scotch whisky and “was pleased the Prime Minister committed to fairness”, adding: “He now needs to deliver on that.”