Nicola Sturgeon: Help SNP be progressive across UK

NICOLA Sturgeon is to issue an appeal to Scots to help the SNP pursue “progressive policies across the UK”, regardless of whether they voted Yes or No in last year’s referendum.

Sturgeon and candidate Michelle Thomson in South Queensferry. Picture: AFP/Getty

In a speech today, Ms Sturgeon will attack the claims of opponents, whom she says have questioned the legitimacy of a large bloc of SNP MPs at Westminster holding the balance of power in the event of a hung parliament.

Ms Sturgeon is expected to call on voters on opposite sides of the referendum debate to put aside their differences and elect a significant number of SNP MPs on 7 May to push for social justice measures such as a higher national minimum wage.

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“It is about giving Scotland real power at Westminster and about making sure that the voices of families, communities and individuals the length and breadth of Scotland – those who voted Yes and those who voted No – are listened to”, Ms Sturgeon is expected to say in the speech in Glasgow ahead of the final week of the election campaign.

The First Minister will suggest that the main parties at Westminster want to reduce the influence of Scots after next week’s election, with opinion polls forecasting that the SNP could hold the balance of power.

However, with some surveys suggesting the SNP could be on course to overtake the Liberal Democrats as the third biggest party in the Commons, Ms Sturgeon will today defend the right of her party to promote policies that would affect the whole of the UK.

She is expected to say: “The rhetoric of some of our opponents suggests we have no right even to propose such things, far less see them enacted.

“It is outrageous to hear representatives of the UK establishment, past and present, imply that some voices – and some votes – should be worth less than others.”

The SNP leader will also accuse the main unionist parties of going back on pledges made in last year’s referendum to listen to the voices of Scottish voters if they rejected independence.

However, Ms Sturgeon will repeat her pledge that the SNP will not use gains in next week’s election as a mandate for a second vote on independence.