Nicola Sturgeon has said she envisages a ‘less formal arrangement’ than a coalition with Labour to end austerity and stop Brexit as well as another independence referendum.
The SNP leader used BBC’s Question Time to cast doubt on Jeremy Corbyn’s stance of no independence referendum in the early years of a Labour government, suggesting he would not compromise SNP support for his anti-austerity policies.
Corbyn had reiterated that, if elected, his party would not support another vote on Scottish independence in the first two years of government.
But the first minister said: “Do you think he’s going to walk away from the chance to end austerity, to protect the NHS, stop Universal Credit, simply because he wants for a couple of years to prevent Scotland having the right to self-determination?
“I’m not sure he’s going to compromise the chance to have a Labour government for that issue.”
She added: “If he’s in the position of needing the support of the SNP, then I think he’ll choose to do some of the things in his manifesto and I don’t think he’ll turn his back on that in order to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose their own future.”
Sturgeon said she did not envisage forming a coalition with Labour, but a “less formal arrangement”.
Following a question from the audience on the SNP Government in Scotland, she said the party was not prioritising independence over other issues.
She said: “If you look at some of the policies in Labour’s manifesto, if you take things like free prescriptions, free university education, restoring the nursing bursary, opposition to fracking, these are all things that my government in Scotland has already done.
“We are getting on with delivering those progressive policies but we want to be in charge of our own future, not to turn our backs on the rest of the UK, but so that we don’t get dragged down paths by Tory governments that we don’t want to go down.”