Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has told the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) that the opposition Labour Party are a spent force north of the border. She also called on voters to back her party to “reinforce” her mandate for a second referendum on leaving the United Kingdom.
“The election in Scotland is a two-horse race between the SNP and hard-line Tories,” said Sturgeon, who leads Scotland’s devolved administration in Edinburgh. “The more Tory MPs there are, the heavier the price Scotland will pay.”
The Herald newspaper reports the first minister as saying the Tories have taken an “extreme position”, demanding “an end to any opposition at Westminster if they win the election”.
“[T]hey want to crush any opposition. The bigger the Tory majority the more they will think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it,” she said. Sturgeon claimed Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to remove Britain from the European Union’s centrally-regulated Single Market and Free Movement regime after Brexit would cost “thousands” of jobs.
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Murdo Fraser MSP, the Scottish Conservatives’ shadow spokesman for Finance, responded by saying: “The biggest threat to prosperity in Scotland is not from a Conservative government, but from Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with cutting us off from our biggest market, the rest of the UK.”
He also characterised the election as a two-horse race, saying: “The choice at this election is very clear, and it is only the Scottish Conservatives that can be trusted to preserve the [British] Union.”
Sturgeon’s dismissal of the Labour Party follows a fierce exchange between Sturgeon and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in the Holyrood legislature, in which the SNP leader branded Labour “unelectable and utterly useless”.
That reality was “the tragedy of UK politics right now”, she added, claiming that Jeremy Corbyn would leave the party “carping from the sidelines”.
“How do we know that?” she asked. “Because that is what Kezia Dugdale said about Jeremy Corbyn.”