Nicola Sturgeon’s email inbox is “overflowing” with requests for the SNP to stand candidates south of the Scottish border, the Scottish First Minister has said.
Ms Sturgeon received widespread praise for her performance in Thursday’s seven-way leaders’ TV debates and her appearance seems to have driven requests for her party to expand into other parts of the UK.
“I have … been really touched by the amazing feedback I've had since [the TV debate] - not just from people in Scotland, but from right across the UK,” she wrote in her column for Glasgow’s local Evening Times newspaper.
The SNP are set to clean up in Scotland at the election and most predictions suggest Labour will be unable to form a government without the help of nationalist MPs.
The SNP positions itself to the left of Labour on a number of issues including scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons system and keeping university education free for all youngsters.
The party wants to lower corporation tax which it says will encourage businesses to relocate to Scotland but recently backed increasing the top rate of tax on very high earners to 50%, in line with Labour policy.
The SNP has also urged modest increases in public spending to help the UK’s economy recover, rather than austerity cuts advocated by the main parties at Westminster.
Ms Sturgeon ruled out standing candidates south of the Scottish border and but said she saw SNP supporters outside Scotland as “allies” in a push to reform Westminster
“Despite the encouragement from many, we will resist the temptation to stand candidates [in other parts of the UK,” she wrote in her column.
Speaking in Livingston this morning Ms Sturgeon said her email inbox was “overflowing since Thursday” with messages requesting SNP candidates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Snap polls showed Ms Sturgeon within 2% of being the first-placed leader in Thursday’s TV debate – a mean feat considering most of the UK is unable to vote for her.
The SNP won an unprecedented majority in the 2011 Scottish parliament elections, winning 69 of the devolved chamber's 129 seats.
The Scottish Parliament is elected using proportional representation and no party had ever managed to secure a single-party majority in it before.
Despite the SNP's success at devolved level Scotland's electorate has voted staunchly Labour for the last few UK-wide general elections.
However, since last year's independence referendum polls have consistently shown Labour facing the new possibility of a near-wipeout north of the border under Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy.
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