David Cameron is expected to head to Scotland tomorrow to meet Nicola Sturgeon for the first time since the SNP won 56 seats in Scotland. The First Minister has already issued a series of demands to the Prime Minister, insisting that if he did not capitulate he risked a second independence referendum.
Sturgeon issued a list of demands on public spending via her 56 newly-elected MPs. She claimed the party had a right to push it’s left-wing agenda as Cameron had “no mandate” in Scotland. The Tories took just one seat north of the border, potentially driving an even bigger wedge between England and Scotland.
Sturgeon told the Daily Mail that she would call for a second referendum if the PM ignores “the voice of the Scottish people”. In response the Prime Minister’s press spokesman said both sides had stated the referendum decisively settled the issue of Scottish independence. He also pointed out Sturgeon had previously conceded the general election was not about independence.
The Prime Minister is said to be determined to “get on” with the implementation of the Smith Commission on devolution. The commission proposed to give full powers over tax to the Scottish Parliament and has so far received cross party support.
But Nicola Sturgeon wanted more, she said: “How David Cameron, his government and the Westminster system choose to respond to the message Scotland has sent will be crucial to how we move forward… I spoke to the Prime Minister by phone on Friday and we are looking to meet later this week.
“Public spending and the protection of Scotland’s Budget will be key issues on the agenda when we do meet. The issue of more powers for the Scottish parliament must also form part of our discussions.”
In another example of the bolder stance of the Scottish Nationalists, the party signed a deal with the Scottish Trade Union Congress to oppose the government. In the agreement the two said they would oppose £12bn of public spending cuts that the Treasury see as vital.
Christina McKelvie MSP, head of the SNP Parliamentary Trade Union Group, issued a press statement saying: “A positive working relationship between the SNP and Scotland’s trade unions will be crucial in leading the opposition to this out of touch Tory government and its ideological commitment to cuts – and today’s agreement with the First Minister is a very welcome step in fighting the Tories’ austerity agenda.”
There are increasing fears in Westminster that the SNP will attempt to stoke up a damaging rift with the government in order to secure independence.