Labour would not “turn their backs” on the SNP in the event it forms a minority government, Nicola Sturgeon has claimed.
She told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that a minority Labour government would need the support of another party to get its policies implemented.
The SNP is willing to support Labour if no party wins an overall majority, if it agrees to certain conditions.
However, Labour leaders have ruled out negotiating with the SNP.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the Financial Times last week there would be “no negotiation, no deal, no coalitions”.
“We’ll roll out our programme and let’s see if the Lib Dems vote against the real living wage at £10 an hour, let’s see if the SNP vote against the proposals we brought forward for ending austerity,” he added.
Challenged on the issue by Andrew Marr, Ms Sturgeon pointed to her own experience leading a minority government at Holyrood.
“You can’t do anything in a minority government unless you have the support of another party”, she said.
She confirmed that the SNP would not vote for a Conservative Queen’s Speech or budget but the party would offer to support a Labour minority government.
“I don’t think they’re going to turn their backs on that, and if they do – I think they’ve got some big explaining to do,” she added.
The SNP has ruled out a formal coalition with Labour but would back them on an issue-by-issue basis.
In return, the SNP wants Jeremy Corbyn’s party to agree to the “principle” of a second independence referendum, scrapping Trident and ending austerity.
The independence issue
Nicola Sturgeon also said Labour should “respect the principle” that it should be up to Holyrood make decisions about a future vote on Scottish independence
She told Andrew Marr: “I’m not asking Labour to support Scottish independence, I’m not even asking them to support the idea that there should be another independence referendum.
“I’m making the reasonable request that they respect the principle, which is that if there’s a referendum, and the timing of the referendum, should not be matters for Westminster to determine.
“They should be matters for the Scottish people and parliament to determine.”
Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold another independence vote next year.
This is why she wants the next UK government to give formal consent to the vote by transferring powers to Holyrood through what is known as a Section 30 order – as happened in 2014.
What do the other parties say?
The Labour party, according to its manifesto, “will not agree to a Section 30 order request if it comes from the Scottish government in the early years of a UK Labour government” should it win Thursday’s election.
However, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said there should not be an “indefinite lock” on holding indyref2. He suggested that a majority for the SNP at the Holyrood elections in “2021, 2026 or 2031” would give them a mandate for a Section 30 order.
Speaking on Sunday Politics Scotland, Labour candidate Paul Sweeney said his party would not “stand in the way” of a second referendum if independence-supporting parties return a majority to Holyrood in 2021.
However, Mr Sweeney said there was no clear mandate currently for a second poll and his party “would not be going into that at this stage”.
The Tories and Lib Dems have said they would oppose another referendum.
Boris Johnson has said he will not grant a request for a Section 30 order from the Scottish government while he is prime minister.
And Conservative candidate Stephen Kerr also told Sunday Politics Scotland that no party winning a majority would be “a nightmare scenario for the country”.
He said it was the “last thing that any of us should want”, and warned that the SNP would “stitch up” a deal with Labour.
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has said another referendum would bring “extra chaos” and has said she would block any move for a second vote.