SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon bakes scones during a general election campaign visit to The Cook School in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, southwest Scotland yesterday.
The Scottish National Party could wield “enormous clout” in the government after a May 7 national election, party leader Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday, promising to block Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron from returning to power.
A surge in support for Sturgeon’s SNP, which wants to see Scotland become an independent country in the long term, could hand it the balance of power in parliament after an election in which neither Cameron’s Conservatives nor Ed Miliband’s Labour Party is expected to win a majority.
Speaking in a BBC radio interview, Sturgeon stressed that if the election produced a hung parliament then the country’s next leader would have to work with smaller parties to pass new legislation and reflect the will of voters.
“Whether that’s as a part of a formal deal or on an issue-by-issue basis it gives parties like the SNP enormous clout and enormous influence,” Sturgeon said.
She reiterated that she wanted to work with Labour to lock Cameron out of power, even if the Conservatives won the most seats at the election.
On Sunday, Miliband ruled out a post-election deal with Scottish nationalists.“Ed Miliband can say what he wants right now, he’s entitled to do so, but he can’t deny reality,” Sturgeon said. Sturgeon appeared to signal that she might be prepared to block a Labour Queen’s Speech and Budget if Miliband refused to bow to her demands. In previous parliaments such an act would almost certainly have led to the fall of the government, but Sturgeon said: “Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, it’s possible for other parties to change the direction of a government without bringing a government down.”
The 2011 law means a government falls if a no-confidence motion is backed by a Commons majority and no new administration can be formed within 14 days, or if at least two thirds of MPs vote for an early election.
Sturgeon also responded to Theresa May’s remarks on a possible post-election deal between Labour and the SNP calling the Tory Home secretary “utterly stupid.” Writing in the Daily Mail, the senior Tory said that a Labour/SNP government could be ‘’the biggest constitutional crisis since the abdication.’’ That’s the constitutional crisis sparked by King Edward VIII giving up the throne in 1936 on the eve of World War II.
Responding to the hyperbole, Sturgeon said: “Theresa May has made herself look completely and utterly stupid with ridiculous over the top comments like that. This is the same Theresa May that tried to tell the people of Scotland during the referendum campaign that if we voted Yes we would lose our passports and have border controls. People will look at these silly comments, and I was going to say they will treat them with contempt, but that actually attaches too much seriousness to them. People will just laugh at her.”
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