The SNP recently relaunched its bid to hold a second referendum on Scotland’s place in the UK by the end of October 2023. Boris Johnson has insisted this is wrong, and that leaders should “respect” the 2014 vote instead.
Both candidates to be next Tory leader and Prime Minister are likely to uphold the same position.
Outlining his plan to stop a second vote from taking place, Mr Sunak said he would “drive down support for independence”.
Ms Sturgeon has said the Scottish people would “undoubtedly” have voted to leave the UK had they known in 2014 that Brexit was around the corner.
She recently told Holyrood that they further “said ‘yes’” to a referendum last May by electing “a clear majority of MSPs committed to that outcome”.
But the former Chancellor has insisted he would turn this alleged situation around, in part by highlighting the benefits UK membership brings to the UK.
He wrote in the Mail that he would “stand up to the SNP”.
Mr Sunak said: “The SNP are wrong to try and tear the country apart when we should be pulling together…
“Just as I want to be more accountable to people in every corner of the United Kingdom, so too does the SNP need to be more accountable for their responsibilities.
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The Conservative Party must, he said, “drive down support for independence”.
He added: “We need to win the argument and show that you can be a patriotic Scot and a proud advocate of our United Kingdom at the same time.
“One is not exclusive to the other.
“That’s also why it’s so important that we have an energetic UK Government that is on the side of the Scottish people, delivering on their priorities.”
SNP Deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald, quoted in the Welsh National, responded: “It is precisely because the UK is lagging behind neighbouring countries on a range of wealth and equality indicators – as demonstrated in the recent Scottish Government paper – that independence for Scotland is essential.
“The longer Scotland remains tied to a failing Westminster system, the poorer we will become as a result.”