Nicola Sturgeon talks up SNP alliance with Miliband

Sturgeon’s SNP is predicted to win most of Scotland’s Westminster seats

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The SNP should be less confrontational and co-operate with political rivals on both sides of the border, Scotland’s First Minister has said.

In an exclusive interview, Nicola Sturgeon said she wants to build a “progressive alliance” capable of propelling Ed Miliband into No 10 after May’s UK general election.

If neither the Conservatives nor Labour wins a majority, the SNP will very likely refuse to join a coalition, Ms Sturgeon said. But she could support a Labour minority government “on a case-by-case basis”, so long as Mr Miliband agreed to increase public spending.

With the SNP predicted to win the majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats, Ms Sturgeon wants to persuade voters that her party would be a force for good throughout the UK.

Asked how her leadership style differs from her predecessor, she said: “I’m manifestly not the same as Alex Salmond. I’m a different gender for example… I’m being flippant but maybe this is a partly gender-driven difference: I’m very keen that we find a way of reaching out across party divides to find things we agree on, as well as the things we disagree on.”