Nicola Sturgeon is 'tempted' to stand SNP candidates in England

Scotland's First Minister says voters across the border have told her they have 'nobody speaking up for them' – while the SNP's London branch is 'booming'

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Tuesday 13 December 2016 13:45 GMT
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Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (EPA)

Nicola Sturgeon has threatened to add to Labour woes by saying she is "tempted" to stand SNP candidates in England.

Scotland's First Minister said voters across the border told her they have “nobody speaking up for them” – describing her party’s London branch as "booming".

And she made clear she would have dealings with Donald Trump, saying: “He's going to be the President of America. There's no point in pretending otherwise.”

The SNP is believed to have about 1,000 members in England, a number boosted by Ms Sturgeon’s much-praised performances in the 2015 general election TV debates.

Asked, by the Big Issue magazine, if the party would stand candidates in English elections, she replied: “I'm tempted.

“There are a lot (of people) in England - a lot who contact me - who feel completely disenfranchised that there is nobody speaking up for them.

“Our London branch is booming at the moment.”

SNP candidates would add to the squeeze on Labour, which is already plunging in the polls under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Its faces the twin threats of Ukip candidates targeting its traditional working class voters – while the Liberal Democrats' clearer anti-hard Brexit stance is wooing urban supporters.

Ms Sturgeon was speaking before a recent phone call from Mr Trump, despite her strong criticism of the US president-elect.

She told Scottish actor Alan Cumming that she would meet the tycoon if he comes to Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Obviously he spends time in Scotland, he has Scottish ancestry and if he comes - as I'm sure he will - he's the President of America and if the opportunity is there, I'd meet him.

"I've written to him to congratulate him.

“I don't think it's any secret that I would rather that he hadn't been elected, but he has, and so I'm going to respect that.

“But I'm not going to abandon my own values, just as I'm sure he's not going to abandon the things he believes in.

"Hopefully we can have a relationship based on values, although I do hope he does abandon some of the values that he campaigned on.”

Mr Trump called Ms Sturgeon last Friday to discuss the "long-standing relationship between Scotland and the United States" despite being stripped of his role as a business ambassador for Scotland over controversial comments during his presidential campaign.

Asked by Mr Cumming for her hopes for 2017, Ms Sturgeon said: "That it is slightly calmer than 2016."

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