THE SNP could team up with parties such as Plaid Cymru and the Greens at Westminster to build a new alliance in a bid to bring an end to the “austerity economics” pursued by the major parties there, Scotland’s new First Minister said.
Nicola Sturgeon, who was formally sworn in to the top job in Scottish politics on Thursday, revealed her party would “seek to build alliances with progressive forces across these islands” if there is a hung parliament after next May’s general election.
The SNP has already set itself the target of winning the majority of Scottish MPs - which would almost certainly reduce Ed Miliband’s chances of becoming the next prime minister.
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Ms Sturgeon made the announcement as the party revealed that membership had surpassed the 90,000 mark.
She told a rally of more than 10,000 people at Glasgow SSE Hydro: “Reaching over 90,000 members is an extraordinary achievement - up from some 25,000 on referendum day - and underlines the huge energy and dynamism in Scottish politics which is driving SNP poll ratings to record levels.
“I am in no doubt that independence, and exercising full powers in Scotland, is the best future for this nation - and would also act as a catalyst for reform south of the border.”
She added: “The old Westminster system doesn’t work for Scotland, we know that all too well.
“But you know what, it doesn’t work for many other parties other UK either. So when we send a strong team of SNP MPs to Westminster, we will seek to build alliances with progressive forces across these islands.”
She stated: “My aim is that the SNP wins the general election in Scotland, and there is every prospect of a hung parliament at Westminster.
“The SNP would never act to put the Tories in power. In these circumstances, our constructive approach is that the SNP will seek common cause in a balanced parliament with progressive forces across the regions of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to rebalance the UK in political and economic terms.
“Scotland can play a leading role in this process, and bring an end to the failed austerity economics which has gripped the front benches of the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems at Westminster.
“In turn, we can build wider support for some of Scotland’s priorities - such as achieving the powers we were promised by the No campaign, and preventing a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons being dumped on the Clyde.”
She added: “That is the outward-looking, forward-looking perspective we will bring to the general election campaign - which I believe will carry huge support in Scotland, and be welcomed by most people south of the border too.”
She highlighted the possibility of SNP MPs working with Welsh nationalists in Plaid Cymru and the Green Party at Westminster.
With both these parties led by women - Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru and Natalie Bennett for the Greens - Ms Sturgeon said: “Westminster be warned, the age of female politics is here and it’s not going away.”
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