RISHI Sunak took aim at former first minister Nicola Sturgeon during his keynote speech at the Conservative party conference as he claimed the “forces of separatism are in retreat”.

During his speech, the PM finally confirmed he was cancelling the rest of the HS2 project following days of speculation.

His speech then turned to the Union as the Prime Minister spoke of a “family of nations”.

“Today our Union is the strongest it has been in a quarter of a century”, he said.

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“The forces of separatism are in retreat across our country. Nicola Sturgeon wanted to go down in the history books as the woman who broke up our country.

“But it now looks like she may go down for very different reasons.”

His comments were met with applause from the audience and Sunak added that the UK is a “remarkable combination of four nations with a proud history”.

He said: “That history should give us enormous confidence in our future.”

It’s not the first time the PM has made a jibe at Sturgeon this week as we previously told how he said the UK had sent enough money to Holyrood to pay for “28,000 motorhomes”.

According to The Telegraph, he told a Scottish Conservative reception they would “smash” the nationalists at the next General Election.

The SNP responded by saying the Tory leader’s (below) “snide remarks” were nothing but a “mortifying attempt to distract”.

The National:

He also praised his Scottish colleagues for “holding those independence crusaders to account” and that the UK was “undoubtedly the world’s most successful political union”.

An SNP spokesman said: “This is a mortifying attempt from the Prime Minister to distract from the truth that we all know; that the Tories are finished, and no number of snide remarks or grandstanding comments can save them now.

“From dragging Scotland out the EU with a Brexit we didn’t vote for, to undermining Scotland’s net zero ambitions, and forcing Scottish households to pay the price for the disastrous economic mismanagement – Rishi Sunak has some brass neck to pretend he knows or cares about Scotland’s interests.”