The Tories are struggling, especially north of the border, and Rishi Sunak was the latest to come unstuck in Scotland.
STV political editor Colin Mackay interviewed Sunak during the prime minister’s visit to Scotland to meet with first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
It comes as Nicola Sturgeon has warned the UK government against blocking gender legislation passed by the Scottish parliament, accusing ministers of “using trans people as a political weapon”.
Sturgeon said the move to block the changes would create a “very, very slippery slope indeed.”
It is expected that Rishi Sunak will block the gender recognition reform bill.
On the chances of another referendum Sunak told the BBC: “On independence, obviously that’s something that Nicola Sturgeon and I disagree on, but what I firmly believe is that people in Scotland want and expect both of their governments right now working with a relentless focus on the issues that matter to them, their families, their communities …”
Reporter Colin Mackay was not letting the PM off lightly…
Mackay asked Sunak: ″Would you accept the result of that de facto referendum?”
″What I’m focused on is delivering for the people of Scotland,” Sunak began. “Today’s announcement –”
That’s not what I’m asking you,” the reporter said as he cut off the PM. “I’m asking you about the possibility of a de facto referendum at the next general election, which the first minister proposed.”
Mackay asked again: “You’re completely ignoring my question, which is about the possibility of the next general election being a de facto referendum.
″Would you accept the outcome of that?”
“What I’m focused on,” the PM said, but was stopped in his flow again, as the reporter didn’t give him any breathing space.
Mackay then replied: “That’s not what I’m asking you, I’m asking you to focus on this because a lot of people in Scotland are very interested in this, would you accept the outcome of a de facto referendum?”
The PM said: ″Do you know what, I’ve been out all of yesterday evening, I’ve been out all of today, and what people are talking to me about is what we are doing to actually make their lives better.”
″So you’re just not going to talk about what they’re talking about?” Mackay pushed. “You’re just going to ignore my question about Scotland’s constitutional future, is that what you’re doing? You clearly are.”
“When it comes to a general election people will make up their own minds on what they want to vote on,” Sunak said. ″It’s not really for me to talk about that.”
“Well it is because that’s what I’m asking you about. ”
He then asked Sunak if he was “ignoring democracy”.
“No, absolutely not, what we are doing is delivering for people here in Scotland,” the prime minister replied.
“Obviously the Scottish government tried to put forward something which the Supreme Court said was not appropriate, I respect the decision of the Supreme Court.
“In the here and now, I think what the people in Scotland want is for us to make a difference to their lives.”
There was a lot of praise for the interviewer: