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British foreign secretary Liz Truss, frontrunner in the Conservative leadership race, has unequivocally ruled out a second Scottish independence referendum, arguing that the 2014 vote was a “once in a generation” occurrence.

Truss, who spent part of her childhood in Scotland, told Conservative party members on Tuesday that she considered herself to be “a child of the union”, as she pledged to deliver policies for the whole of the UK and “work very closely” with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross to take on the Scottish National party administration.

“At the time of the 2014 referendum, it was agreed by the SNP that it was a once-in-a-generation referendum,” she said, speaking at hustings held in Perth in central Scotland. “What she [first minister Nicola Sturgeon] should do, rather than agitating for another referendum, is deal with the very real issues in Scotland.”

During the final months of Boris Johnson’s tenure in Number 10, the relationship between the Scottish wing of the Conservative party and the Westminster administration became strained, with several of its members of the Scottish parliament calling on the prime minister to resign in light of the “partygate” revelations.

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Under her government, the union would go from “strength to strength to strength”, Truss said, as she pledged to renew Trident, the UK’s nuclear weapons system, and increase the number of defence contracts issued to Scottish companies.

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