Scotland is a “hugely valued” part of the United Kingdom, Theresa May told guests gathered at Downing Street for a Burns Supper.
Scots from the world of sport, business and politics were invited to Number 10 for the traditional celebration of the works of poet Robert Burns ahead of Burns Night on Friday.
Olympic rower Katherine Grainger recited the Address To A Haggis, while other guests included teacake king Boyd Tunnock and Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.
They were welcomed to pipe music and offered a whisky before sitting down to the traditional supper in the State Dining Rooms.
Mrs May told guests: “The work of Robert Burns, one of our finest poets, continues to be enjoyed by millions of people and tonight is not only a celebration of him but the proud culture of the whole of Scotland.
“Scotland is a hugely valued part of our United Kingdom and I am delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate the great poet, this great nation and our precious Union.”
Scottish Secretary David Mundell, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington attended the function, Downing Street said.
The Prime Minister said to those invited: “It is important to me in everything we do here, and indeed in everything we do as a government, that we reflect the fact that the United Kingdom is a union of four nations.
“Our country has great diversity within it and we rightly celebrate that diversity. What we actually do in coming together is combine to make something greater than the sum of its parts and it is something that is unique and inspiring.
“Of course, Scotland is an absolutely integral part of our United Kingdom – economically, socially and culturally.
“Tonight of course in Robert Burns, we are celebrating a Scottish and British cultural icon, one of the finest poets in any language. It is a chance to celebrate a great poet, a great nation and an enduring union.”