U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said she does not believe there is a need for a second referendum after the 2014 vote.
London will not help Scotland hold another referendum on seceding from the United Kingdom before 2020, British defense minister Michael Fallon said Thursday, prompting a row with Scotland's pro-independence devolved government.
“Forget it,” Fallon told the Herald Newspaper when asked whether he would facilitate a new independence referendum after the majority of Scotland voted last June to remain in the EU.
"(First Minister Nicola Sturgeon) ... has to respect the decision of Scotland to stay inside the U.K. in 2014 and the decision of the U.K. to leave the EU. Respect works two ways,” he added.
Scotland, one of the U.K.'s four nations, voted to keep its EU membership in last June's referendum while Britain as a whole voted to leave, prompting renewed calls from Sturgeon's government for a re-run of the independence vote.
Sturgeon said on Twitter it would be a "disastrous move" for May's ruling Conservatives to block an independence referendum.
A Scottish government spokesman said later: "Any Tory (Conservative) bid to block a referendum would be a democratic outrage, but would only succeed in boosting support for both a referendum and for independence itself – something which the Prime Minister has previously indicated she understands all too well.”