At rally, May attacks 'obsessive' Scottish nationalists

May's eight-month political honeymoon abruptly ended this week when Scotland launched a fresh breakaway bid, while her government was also forced into a humiliating budget U-turn.

At rally, May attacks 'obsessive' Scottish nationalists

World Bulletin / News Desk

British Prime Minister Theresa May attacked the Scottish government's "obsessive" pursuit of independence Friday as she sought to rally her party faithful ahead of starting Brexit.

But she drew cheers from her Conservative party conference when she promised that plans were on track to start leaving the European Union within two weeks -- and promised to fight for a "brighter future" for the country as a whole.

In a speech in Cardiff, she defended the "precious, precious union" of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales -- and condemned the "divisive and obsessive nationalism" of the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) in Edinburgh.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Monday announced plans for a second referendum on independence by early 2019, warning Scotland did not want to leave the EU, particularly its single market.

"It is now clear that using Brexit as the pretext to engineer a second independence referendum has been the SNP's sole objective ever since last June" when Britons voted to leave the EU, May told activists.

Scotland's move has left the prime minister fighting on two fronts as she prepares to trigger the Article 50 process, which involves two years of negotiations to leave the EU, by the end of March.

SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson also took a combative tone as he addressed his party's conference in Aberdeen earlier Friday, accusing May of "arrogance" in trying to block the independence vote.

On Thursday, May said "now is not the time" for a vote, less than three years after Scots rejected independence in a 2014 referendum, arguing that Britain must focus on Brexit.

Robertson retorted: "Let there be no doubt, Scotland will have its referendum and the people of this country will have their choice... they will not be denied their say."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Mart 2017, 17:47