Nicola Sturgeon vows to block Tories on austerity and repeal of Human Rights Act

The First Minister has claimed the SNP are the only 'real opposition'

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Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to lead opposition to Conservative cuts and plans to repeal the Human Rights Act by working with other parties.

The SNP leader said her party would seek to form alliances with other parties to block the Tories’ agenda, which “lacks legitimacy” in Scotland.

“The SNP's priority is ending austerity, and the damage it does to people's lives - the Tory Government's priority is ending human rights, and the opportunities for fairness they offer ordinary men and women,” the First Minister said.

“To scrap the Human Rights Act would be an appallingly retrograde step,” she added.

Ms Sturgeon has previously said the SNP would provide the “only real opposition” to the Conservatives at Westminster.

With a cohort of 56 MPs, the SNP are now the third largest party in the Commons and have already tried to assert their dominance by sitting on the official opposition benches.

Nicola Sturgeon is joined by the SNP's 56 newly elected MPs in front of the Forth Rail Bridge in an earlier ceremony

Alex Neil, a Scottish cabinet secretary, has written to Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, to “reiterate the Scottish Government's opposition to the repeal of the Human Rights Act”.

The First Minister also raised the issue at her meeting with the Prime Minister this month and said Holyrood could refuse to consent to the repeal of the act.

“SNP MPs will work across party lines at Westminster to defeat the Tory government on the Human Rights Act - and the SNP Government will invite the Scottish Parliament to refuse legislative consent to scrap it, given the strong devolved dimension,” Ms Sturgeon added.

“This important issue illustrates how Holyrood working together with SNP MPs and others at Westminster can challenge a Tory agenda that lacks legitimacy in Scotland - and help the cause of progressive politics across the UK.”

SNP leaders hope to exploit the internal divisions within Labour as they elect a new leader to increase their influence in Parliament.

The SNP’s social justice spokesman at Westminster, Eilidh Whiteford, said: “With Labour all over the place and each of their leadership candidates seemingly getting ready to race even further to the right, the SNP is the only real opposition to unfair Tory cuts in the House of Commons.

"People in Scotland can be assured that we will fight George Osborne and David Cameron's plans to impose more cuts on disadvantaged people at every turn.”