The prime minister has met Scotland’s first minister in Glasgow as she prepares to formally trigger Article 50.
Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon held talks at a hotel during the prime minister’s trip to Scotland.
Downing Street insisted ahead of the meeting that independence would not be discussed.
The Scottish Parliament is expected to back Ms Sturgeon’s call for a second referendum on independence on Tuesday.
The first minister says a fresh vote is needed ahead of Brexit to allow the people of Scotland to choose which path to follow.
But speaking earlier on Tuesday, the prime minister said leaving the European Union will be an opportunity to strengthen the ties between the nations of the United Kingdom.
Mrs May, who will trigger Article 50 on Wednesday, told staff at the Department for International Development (DFID) in East Kilbride that she wanted Brexit to lead to a “more united nation”.
She pledged that leaving the EU would not mean the UK “stepping back from the world”, and insisted she was aiming to build “a new partnership with Europe” while taking the opportunity to build “a more global Britain”.
The prime minister added: “As Britain leaves the European Union, and we forge a new role for ourselves in the world, the strength and stability of our Union will become even more important.”
In an impassioned plea for the preservation of the UK, she said the nations of the United Kingdom were an “unstoppable force” when they acted together.
Mrs May – who did not take questions following her 10-minute speech, which focused largely on…