General election 2015: The SNP will wield 'enormous influence' should Labour form minority government, Nicola Sturgeon claims

Sturgeon also claimed that negative Conservative campaigning had been 'not unhelp' for her party's profile

Rose Troup Buchanan
Saturday 25 April 2015 12:21

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that the Scottish National Party anticipates wielding “enormous influence” over Labour, should the party form a minority government.

Ms Sturgeon also told The Times that Conservative campaigning portraying the SNP as puppet-masters pulling Ed Miliband’s strings was “not unhelpful” to boosting her party’s profile.

Mr Miliband has been forced to deny once again he would do any deal with the SNP, as polls suggest that Ms Sturgeon’s party could win a clean sweep of Scotland’s Commons seats.

The SNP leader, who took over from Alex Salmond following the defeat of a referendum on Scottish independence last year, claimed her experience of working in a minority government in Holyrood stood her party in good stead for future political manoeuvring.

“You have influence, particularly with the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, you can change the direction of a government or defeat it on particular issues without the government falling and there being a general election. That gives enormous influence to a smaller party in opposition.”

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“I am not going into all the tactics we would use to try to exert influence but suffice to say in that scenario there is considerable influence a minority party could wield,” she added.

Seizing on the remarks, a Conservative Party spokesperson claimed that Ms Sturgeon’s remarks would mean “higher taxes, higher spending, higher welfare bill and weaker defences.

“That’s the ransom the SNP will demand from Ed Miliband in return for propping him up in government”, the spokesperson told The Independent.

But, discussing David Cameron and the Tory attacks, Ms Sturgeon implied they had been helpful in boosting her party’s national profile.

“At every Westminster election I’ve fought until this one, the biggest challenge that we’ve had to overcome is being heard and being relevant. We don’t have this problem this time.”

She added: “The message it’s given to people in Scotland is: if this is the attention we get just from the SNP riding high in the polls, imagine how loud our voice would be if that was translated into seats. So in that respect I absolutely think it is not unhelpful.”

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