Nicola Sturgeon: Tories will use snap general election to 'move UK to the right and force through hard Brexit'

Scottish First Minister say decision to call vote is an attempt to capitalise on the ‘utter disarray’ in the Labour Party

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Nicola Sturgeon has said the Conservatives will use a snap general election to “move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts”.

In a statement released shortly after the Prime Minister announced she was calling for a vote on 8 June, Mr Sturgeon described the announcement as “one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history” and a “huge political miscalculation”.

She said it showed Theresa May was “once again putting the interests of her party ahead of the country”.

The Scottish First Minister added that the decision to call for the election, which must secure the support of two-thirds of MPs in a vote scheduled for Wednesday in the Commons, was a political move to capitalise on the “utter disarray” in the Labour Party.

“She is clearly betting that the Tories can win a bigger majority in England given the utter disarray in the Labour Party," Ms Sturgeon said.

“That makes it all the more important that Scotland is protected from a Tory party which now sees the chance of grabbing control of government for many years to come and moving the UK further to the right – forcing through a hard Brexit and imposing deeper cuts in the process.

“That means that this will be – more than ever before – an election about standing up for Scotland, in the face of a right-wing, austerity-obsessed Tory Government with no mandate in Scotland but which now thinks it can do whatever it wants and get away with it."

Ms Sturgeon added: “In terms of Scotland, this move is a huge political miscalculation by the Prime Minister.

“It will once again give people the opportunity to reject the Tories' narrow, divisive agenda, as well as reinforcing the democratic mandate which already exists for giving the people of Scotland a choice on their future.”

Times Theresa May has said there won't be an election until 2020

The UK’s vote to leave the EU – a position not supported in Scotland – has already resulted in a showdown between Ms May and the SNP leader over plans for a second Scottish independence referendum.

The Scottish government insists another vote on the matter should be held sometime between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, but Ms May has made clear that “now is not the time” for such a vote.

SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson tweeted: “Whatever happened to ‘now is not the time’? UK general election: 8 June. Straight choice in Scotland between the SNP and Tories.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said her party would go into the 8 June election with a clear message that a vote for the Tories would “ensure we get the strong leadership we need to get the best Brexit deal for the whole country” and would also “send a strong message that we oppose SNP’s divisive plan for a second referendum”.

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