SNP MPs could potentially deny Theresa May and the “arrogant” Tories a majority in Thursday’s General Election, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The Scottish First Minister and SNP leader said another five years of Conservative government was “not palatable” - and insisted the only way Scots could stop this was by voting for her party.
Ms Sturgeon described the election, which Mrs May called in a bid to increase the Tory majority at Westminster, as an “opportunity to make positive statement about the kind of country we want Scotland to be”.
With the campaign now in its final few days, and with polls across the UK showing Labour closing the gap on the Conservatives, Ms Sturgeon said if her party enjoyed success on a similar scale to the 2015 election, it could help prevent another Tory administration.
In the last election, the SNP won 56 of the 59 seats that were up for grabs in Scotland, with Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories each winning just one seat.
As she campaigned in Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire, the First Minister said: “There is a possibility as we see the polls narrow that we could deny Theresa May a majority, and certainly deny her a bigger majority, which is why she called this election.
“There’s no doubt with polls narrowing in the rest of the UK whether or not Theresa May gets a majority - or a bigger majority - could come down to the outcome in Scotland.”
She stated: “Given the narrowing of the polls in the rest of the UK, there is now every chance that a vote for the SNP can deny the Tories the crushing victory that they so arrogantly predicted at the start of the campaign.
“Indeed, some polls now indicate Scotland could be pivotal in deciding this election, with the issue of how big a Tory majority is - or whether they have one at all - decided here.
“A Tory government with a larger majority would cut pensions, impose a dementia tax, hit family incomes and put a million more children into poverty.
“They will slash spending on our public services, fail to support our NHS and they will embark on a chaotic, extreme Brexit that will cost jobs and cut wages.”
Ms Sturgeon added: “I think as this campaign has worn on, people have come face to face with the consequences of five more years of Tory government and that’s not palatable - it means more cuts in public services, it means a risk to jobs with an extreme form of Brexit and it means more people including children being pushed into poverty.
“The only way in Scotland to stop the Tories is to vote SNP, a vote for Labour or the Liberals risks splitting the anti-Tory vote and letting Tories in the back door.”
The East Dunbartonshire constituency Ms Sturgeon was campaigning in is being targeted by the Liberal Democrats, who are hopeful former UK Government minister Jo Swinson could take the seat back from the SNP.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We know that Labour is in third place in Scotland, and the Liberals even further behind that, so voting for Labour or the Liberals risks splitting the anti-Tory vote and letting them in the back door.”