Sturgeon: “If we can be a constructive voice in the months and years ahead, we won’t just serve Scotland’s interests; we’ll help where we can to bring positive change across the UK as well.”
NICOLA Sturgeon, first minister and leader of the SNP, will set out her “positive” perspective on the role the SNP could play at Westminster after the General Election in May, in a lecture at the University College of London (UCL).
Labour has continually refused to rule out a possible coalition deal with the Scottish nationalists, as the polls show the SNP are set to nearly wipe the board in Scotland while Labour and the Tories are neck in neck to be the largest party, with neither doing enough to secure an overall majority.
UK establishment figures have vociferously warned about the dangers of letting the SNP into a position of power at Westminster, but Sturgeon is likely to say the party can play a “constructive” role.
“We will argue for a moderate approach to deficit reduction – one which doesn’t penalise the vulnerable and harm economic growth. And we will argue for a different way of doing things. Budgets should take equality impacts seriously and use consultation more effectively,” the first minister will say.
“If we can be a constructive voice in the months and years ahead, we won’t just serve Scotland’s interests; we’ll help where we can to bring positive change across the UK as well,” she will add.
David Cameron raised the alarm at prime minister’s questions last week, accusing Ed Miliband, Labour leader, of threatening to go into partnership with a party that endangered the UK’s “national security”. But with the SNP on course to win the vast majority of Scottish MPs, Sturgeon will say the decision of the Scottish electorate should be respected.
Sturgeon will say: “We were constantly told by the UK Government before the referendum that Scotland was an equal and valued member of the United Kingdom.
“So don’t be at all surprised if SNP MPs and the SNP Government now start taking them at their word.
“We have clear and constructive views on many aspects of UK policy which affect Scotland deeply – views which we know are often shared by many people elsewhere in the UK.”
In a speech at UCL last month, Sturgeon opposed what she saw as the failed “austerity economics” of the three major UK parties, and proposed a PS180bn increase in public spending over the next five years of the UK Parliament.
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has rejected Sturgeon’s proposal, reiterating the importance of “balancing the books”.
Picture courtesy of First Minister of Scotland