Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish National Party (SNP) is ready to form a coalition with the UK’s Labour Party against Prime Minister Theresa May in the upcoming general election.
Sturgeon told BBC on Sunday that if the June 8 vote led to a hung parliament her party would happily form a “progressive alliance” with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to potentially keep May out of 10 Downing Street.
“If there was to be a hung parliament, of course we would look to be part of a progressive alliance that pursued progressive policies,” she said.
Labour has been doing extremely good in the latest polls, narrowing down an initially large gap with the ruling Tories to around five points over the past weeks.
May called for a snap election in mid-April to gain a stronger foothold in the negotiations with the European Union (EU) over the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc.
However, analysts say she was also hoping to get a larger majority in the UK Parliament in order to silence possible opposition from other parties to the outcome of the Brexit talks.
Sturgeon said the prospect of a hung parliament, where neither Tories nor their rivals reach the 326-seat threshold in the 650-seat House of Commons, was far from reality.
“Let’s get back to the reality of this election. The reality of this election, even with the narrowing of the polls, is that we’re going to face a Tory government perhaps with a bigger majority,” she said.
The SNP leader then laid out her priorities for the election, which included a second independence referendum.
“So my priority in this election is to say to the people of Scotland: ‘If you want Scotland’s interests to be protected and our voice heard, you’ve got to vote SNP’,” asserted Sturgeon, who has been at loggerheads with May over giving Scotland a “key role” in the EU talks.
Sturgeon argues that since leaving the EU means losing access to the Single Market, they would rather secede from the UK to rejoin the bloc down the road.
While May has strongly rejected requests for a new referendum, Sturgeon said there is still hope for one under Corbyn’s government.
“We know she would demand a referendum in independence as part of any deal with Labour. And given Jeremy Corbyn has said he’s ‘absolutely fine’ with a referendum, we know he’d be willing to roll over,” she said.
Scots voted against Brexit in last June’s EU referendum. However, they have also rejected independence from the UK in a 2015 referendum.