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UK government rejects demands for new Scottish referendum

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson processes through the Central Lobby during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London, Britain December 19, 2019. Adrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s government rejected Scotland’s First Minister demands for a new independence referendum after Brexit, saying it would be “a damaging distraction” and would undermine the result of the last vote five years ago.

Nicola Sturgeon, who heads Edinburgh’s pro-independence devolved government, said she has a new mandate to call for a fresh independence vote after winning the most seats in Scotland in last week’s general election.

“A second independence referendum next year would be a damaging distraction,” the government said in a briefing note accompany its legislative agenda. “It would undermine the decisive result of the 2014 referendum and the promise made to the Scottish people that it was a once in a generation vote.”

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill. Editing by Guy Faulconbridge