The SNP would not consider victory in every single Scottish seat at the general election a mandate to hold another independence referendum, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The Scottish First Minister argued that returning SNP MPs to Westminster would “make Scotland’s voice heard” in the UK parliament but said even a landslide of all of the country’s 59 seats would not be taken as evidence of support for another plebiscite.
“Let me be very clear … even if the SNP win every single seat in Scotland on Thursday it is not a mandate for a referendum on independence. It is a vote to make Scotland’s voice heard,” she told the audience at the BBC’s Scottish leaders’ debate on Sunday.
Asked about the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system Ms Sturgeon refused to be drawn on what might provoke her party to call for another independence referendum, however.
She added that the suggestion the SNP could win every seat in Scotland was “not a prediction” of the general election result.
Successive polls have shown the nationalists taking the bulk of Scotland’s seats this week with some projections even showing the party capturing every single constituency in Scotland under a uniform swing.
In practice it is likely that some local battles will prove difficult for the SNP to win even if the party’s national swing suggests a clean sweep.
Among possible casualties of the nationalists’ surge are former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander and even possibly Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said last month he would not grant the SNP a second referendum on independence if he became prime minister.
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