Nicola Sturgeon has claimed another hung Parliament would be the "best outcome" for Scotland as she set out the price of SNP co-operation in a post-election deal with Labour.
The First Minister said the power to stage a second independence referendum would the key demand if the December 12 vote fails to deliver a majority for either of the main parties, as she launched the SNP's campaign in Edinburgh today.
But Ms Sturgeon also warned she will seek greater devolution of powers to Holyrood, an end to austerity politics and reform the social security system.
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The SNP leader said the party would seek to form a "progressive alliance" with other parties, likely to include Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens. And despite the election being called in an effort to break the Parliamentary impasse of recent years in a House of Commons with no majority, the SNP leader claimed such an outcome could benefit Scotland.
"Can I just make clear the SNP's position if there is a hung Parliament after this election, which in many ways is potentially the best outcome for Scotland because it gives us significant influence and power in that scenario," Ms Sturgeon said.
"I'm no fan of Jeremy Corbyn, but we have work with what we have before us. I would never support a Conservative Government. I can't foresee the SNP being in a formal Coalition, but we would look as we've said in the previous two general elections to form alliances that can keep the Tories out of power.
"As I've said we would drive a hard bargain. There would be significant issues that we would want to advance for any support from the SNP and any party - if that's Labour after the election - that finds itself in a minority needs the support of other parties.
"I can see that from experience because I am the leader of a minority government. That position gives Scotland significant influence, but the first step we've got to take o make sure we get there is voting in a way in Scotland that helps deprive Boris Johnson of the majority he wants."
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The SNP would not do any deal with the Tories, but could work with Labour. Jeremy Corbyn has hinted that a second referendum could be staged in the "later years" of a Labour Government. Holyrood needs the transfer of power, through a Section 30 order, for a referendum to be staged on independence which Ms Sturgeon wants next year. Boris Johnson has categorically ruled this out.
And Ms Sturgeon added: "Any party that doesn't respect this fundamental principle that it's for the people of Scotland to decide the future whether that is independence or not, it's for the people of Scotland to decide, needn't bother picking up the phone to the SNP to look for support.
"That is a clear principle that we have articulated.
"There would be many other issues that we would seek to advance. The end to austerity, a different position around the social security system until such times as Scotland is independent, the devolution of significant powers that we need to tackle the challenges we face here.
"Greater action from UK Governments on climate change. So there would be a significant number of things in Scotland's interests but in many of these issues, in the interests of the whole UK that we would seek to advance in any discussion that happen after the election."