Nicola admitted the SNP will shore up a weak Jeremy Corbyn government to help beat Tories
The Tories seized on the anti-Brexit Scottish First Minister's forecast, when asked if she would talk with Labour in the event of a hung Parliament, that “there’d be all sorts of talks” about forming a “progressive alliance” to the Conservatives.
Treasury Chief Secretary David Gauke said: “This admission from Nicola Sturgeon underlines the very real risk that Jeremy Corbyn could be Prime Minister next Friday propped up by the Scottish National Party and in charge both of Brexit and our economic security.
“That would be a disaster for ordinary working families – soaked with higher taxes on their income, their savings and even their gardens to pay for Corbyn’s reckless spending promises.
“With the stakes so high, and with the Brexit negotiations starting just 11 days after the election, it is simply not worth taking the risk of waking up to Jeremy Corbyn and his coalition of chaos.”
SNP leader Ms Sturgeon said that although she still expected a Tory election victory, she could envisage her MPs backing a minority Labour administration on a case-by-case basis, rather than in a formal alliance.
Her avoidance of terms like “coalition” reflects fears the idea is s turn-off for voters.
Ms Sturgeon is also desperate to maximise her party’s votes on June 8 and minimise Labour’s, amid opinion polls showing Scottish Tories making gains that could potentially topple senior SNP MPs including deputy leader Angus Robertson.
Kezia Dugdale insisted her party would refuse to strike any form of deal with the SNP
If there was to be a hung parliament, if the parliamentary arithmetic allowed it, then I would want the SNP to be part of a progressive alternative to a Conservative government.
But significantly, her formula for SNP decisions in a hung Parliament chimes with that of Corbyn ally Emily Thornberry.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary said on Thursday that if Labour ends up the largest party in the House of Commons but without an overall majority it would seek not coalitions, but support from other “progressive” parties for its programme, to keep the Conservatives out.
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Asked to confirm she would speak to Mr Corbyn if he ends up with a potential minority government, Ms Sturgeon – who still wants a new referendum on breaking away from the UK – told the BBC: “I’m sure there’d be all sorts of talks if that was to happen.”
If such a result occurred it would be “because that’s what the electorate wants. They want parties to talk to each other”, she stressed.
David Gauke said there 'would be a disaster' if Labour won the election
She said: “I’m sceptical about whether we will be in that scenario, but if that scenario arises, then it means the electorate has decided that it doesn’t want either of the two main UK parties to govern with a free hand.
“If there was to be a hung Parliament, if the Parliamentary arithmetic allowed it, then I would want the SNP to be part of a progressive alternative to a Conservative government.
“I don’t envisage any formal coalitions – but on an issue-by-issue basis, to put forward progressive policies and see a progressive agenda.”
But amid claims pro-Union parties are cooperating in Scotland against the SNP, she also accused Scottish Labour of being keener to oppose her party than to fight the Conservatives “which I think would be inexplicable to most people in the Labour Party south of the border”.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale retorted: “Jeremy Corbyn has absolutely 100 per cent refuted any prospect of a deal, a coalition or a pact with the SNP.
“He doesn’t believe that the SNP are a progressive party, so you can’t have a progressive alliance with a party, for example, that refuses to tax the rich (in Scotland) and ask them to pay their fair share.
“Also Jeremy Corbyn accepts there is nothing progressive about trying to break up the United Kingdom.”
Nicola said she would expect 'all sorts of talks' with Jeremy if Tories lose in the election Election 2017 LIVE Wed, May 31, 2017
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Ms Dugdale said Scots were “angry” at SNP attempts to make them vote again on independence which they rejected in 2014.
But she also confirmed Ms Thornberry’s claim that a minority Labour government would present a Budget and dare the SNP to vote for it – or vote against “so we would find ourselves in a position where we would have a Tory government all over again.
“So there is no need to negotiate with the SNP. It is down to them to either live by their anti-austerity credentials that they are so keen to talk about or let the Tories back in.”