Nicola Sturgeon confirms SNP would back 'progressive alliance' to oust Tories from power

First Minister states that SNP majority in Scotland would represent “an endorsement” of #ScotRef

FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON has launched the SNP’s 2017 General Election campaign at Westminster by saying she would be willing to form a ‘progressive alliance’ to block the Tories forming a government at Westminster, though her main priority was to win a majority of Scottish seats.

Speaking outside the Westminster Parliament in London today (19 April) Sturgeon also said that an SNP majority in Scottish seats would represent an “endorsement” of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament’s support for a referendum on Scottish independence.

Answering a question about post-election co-operation with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, Sturgeon said: “If the parliamentary arithmetic lent itself to the SNP being part of a progressive alliance to keep the Tories out of Government, then the SNP would seek to be part of that.”

However, she immediately qualified that position by saying she thought the scenario was unlikely.

“I’m not sure there are many people who think Labour are going to be in any position, on their own or with anyone else, to form a government,” she added.

“My job in this election, first and foremost, is to stand up for Scotland. My job is not to worry about coalitions with anybody,” she later said.

“If the parliamentary arithmetic lent itself to the SNP being part of a progressive alliance to keep the Tories out of Government, then the SNP would seek to be part of that.” Nicola Sturgeon

The position is similar to that adopted in advance of the 2015 General Election, which saw the SNP pick up 56 of 59 constituencies in Scotland.

She noted that then there was a greater prospect of a progressive plural government. In advance of the 2015 elections Ed Miliband was performing stronger in opinion polls, and he did not face the same level of internal party division, though he went on to lose the election which saw a Tory majority government formed.

Though Sturgeon specifically used the phrase “progressive alliance” the move would not amount to the an electoral pact called for by some in the SNP, which would see progressive parties avoid standing against each other in some seats, in a bid to maximise the leftwing vote against an increasingly strong Conservative party.

Sturgeon also said that if the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats “that clearly will be an endorsement of the plans we put forward” for an independence referendum.

In March the Scottish Parliament voted to request the powers from Westminster to hold an independence referendum in 2018-19, which the SNP said was necessary to defend Scotland’s relationship with Europe in the wake of May’s decision to negotiate hard Brexit.

Read more: Calls for a progressive alliance to oust the Conservatives

Scottish Labour figures including leader Kezia Dugdale and the party’s only Scottish MP Iain Murray have repeatedly quashed any notion of an alliance with the SNP, as they claim that the SNP is “not progressive” and that the Labour party in itself represents a “progressive alliance”.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he intends to win the election and form a government.

Picture courtesy of First Minister of Scotland

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