Ed Miliband is running out of time to confirm he would work with the SNP at Westminster, party leader Nicola Sturgeon has warned. Every day that passes risks perpetuating the suspicion that the Labour leader would rather see the Conservatives return to government than work with the SNP, she told supporters in Livingston.
Sturgeon repeated her scepticism that a formal Labour-SNP coalition would happen, adding that the SNP is not seeking any UK ministerial posts, but said she will fight for as much power for Scotland as she can get. She also outlined changes she said would support childcare and getting parents back to work, including uprating child tax credits and child benefit and a rise in the minimum wage to £8.70.
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"Even if the Tories are the largest party, I have said we will vote to stop the Tory government getting off the ground," she said. "I have asked Ed Miliband to confirm that Labour will do likewise. Thus far, Labour hasn't given that commitment.
"I hope to hear him give that commitment before too much more time elapses because as long as he fails to give that commitment he leaves lingering the suspicion that Labour would rather see the Tories get back into power than work with the SNP. If that is the case, then people in Scotland, I don't think, will ever forgive the Labour Party." She added: "I have said a formal coalition with Labour is unlikely.
"The SNP is not going to Westminster to seek ministerial posts, we're going to Westminster to make Scotland's voice heard and to win more progressive policies for Scotland. Now, I've ruled out any kind of arrangement with the Tories, but I have also said to Labour, very directly, if there is an anti-Tory majority in the House of Commons, then even if the Tories are the biggest party, if Labour and the SNP work together we can stop a Tory government getting off the ground."
She added: "I repeat that call to Ed Miliband today, and maybe today unlike the previous few days he will answer that. If we have an anti-Tory majority, will he work with the SNP rather than allow David Cameron back into Downing Street?"
Sturgeon said she still wants Scotland to be independent, but in the meantime "will push for the maximum devolution to Scotland". She added: "If Scotland is to become independent, that will only happen with a vote in a referendum. But poll after poll shows that people in Scotland want significantly more powers in the Scottish Parliament. Now, I will not stop campaigning for and wanting Scotland to become independent, but that will only happen in a referendum."