Michael Gove has said there will not be another independence referendum “anytime soon”.
The Cabinet Office minister – who is responsible for countering the push for independence – said the UK and Scottish Government’s focus should be on the Covid recovery and not the constitution.
Nicola Sturgeon said it was “a matter of when, not if” there would be a second poll following a fourth successful outing at the Holyrood elections for her party in May.
But Mr Gove has the dismissed the idea, saying: “We’re not going to have a referendum anytime soon.”
Asked if the UK Government would consider granting Scottish ex-pats a vote in another poll, he said it was not his job to speculate about “the whys and wherefores of a referendum”.
He said his priority was “making sure that we work together, Scottish Government, UK Government and other devolved administrations to deal with the recovery”.
His comments come just days after a new poll found support for Scottish independence was down.
The Panelbase poll found just 48% of people – excluding the don’t knows – would support independence if a referendum were held tomorrow. In April, support for breaking up the Union stood at 52%.
Professor Sir John Curtice of Strathclyde University, said the results indicated “a cooling of the independence ardour” since the Holyrood elections last month.