Nicola Sturgeon suggests SNP could support minority Labour government

The Scottish First Minister predicted the Conservatives were still on track to win the election

Nicola Sturgeon suggests SNP could support minority Labour government

Nicola Sturgeon speaking in Edinburgh| Image: YouTube/Scottish Government

Nicola Sturgeon has signalled the SNP would be willing to support a minority Labour government in the event of a hung parliament.

The SNP leader revealed her party would look to pursue a "progressive alternative" to Conservative administration if no party wins an overall majority on 8 June.

Since Theresa May's announcement of a snap general election, the Tories have suffered a tightening of their opinion poll lead.

One analysis by pollsters YouGov has even predicted the UK could be left with a hung parliament next week.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has raised the prospect of a minority Labour administration, claiming the party would challenge others to support them in order to prevent a Tory government.

On Friday, Ms Sturgeon appeared open to such an arrangement on an "issue-by-issue basis" although ruled out a formal coalition with any other party at Westminster.

She told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: "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."

However Ms Sturgeon said she was "sceptical" about the prospect of a hung parliament.

The Scottish First Minister predicted the Tories were still on track to win the election but suggested the Conservatives are "no longer certain to get a bigger majority".

Ms Thornberry insisted Labour were "fighting to win with a majority" and would do "no deals" with other parties.

But, if Labour were able to form a minority government, Ms Thornberry said party leader Jeremy Corbyn would "go ahead" and propose a legislative programme and budget.

She added: "If people want to vote for it, then good. If they don't want to vote for it they're going to have to go back and speak to their constituents and explain to them why it is that we have a Tory government instead."

Responding to Ms Sturgeon's comments on Friday, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale insisted Mr Corbyn had "absolutely 100% refuted any prospect of a deal, a coalition or a pact with the SNP".

At the 2015 general election, the Tories urged voters to avoid a Labour government supported by the SNP as one of their key campaign messages.

David Gauke, the Conservative candidate for the South West Hertfordshire constituency, said: "This admission from Nicola Sturgeon underlines the very real risk that Jeremy Corbyn could be prime minister next Friday - propped up by the SNP and in charge both of Brexit and our economic security."