POLITICS
16/10/2015 09:32 BST | Updated 16/10/2015 10:59 BST

SNP Conference: Nicola Sturgeon Warns David Cameron To 'Respect' Scots Voters Or Face Another Independence Vote

Nicola Sturgeon was warned David Cameron a lack of "respect" for Scottish voters could trigger a second Scottish independence vote.

The SNP leader and Scottish First Minister had on Thursday told pro-independence campaigners it would be "wrong" to call another vote without "strong evidence" that support had grown.

Today, she linked "things our opponents do over the next few years" – meaning its austerity programme and devolution - would "drive support".

The Prime Minister has slapped down SNP talk of another vote – dubbed a "neverendum" by critics – and quoted back former leader Alex Salmond's claim last year's poll was "once in a lifetime".

Many of the hundreds of thousands of new SNP voters that have flocked to the party in the last year are anxious for "IndyRef2", but Ms Sturgeon has made clear the polls will decide when the time is right and support for a 'yes' vote has surged.

On Radio 4's Today programme and against next year's Holyrood elections, she spelled out how the Government programme could fuel that support. "There will be things our opponents do over the next few years - chiefly the Tories in Government - that would also drive support for independence," she said.

"If David Cameron's government continues to act in a way that doesn't respect the views of people in Scotland then I also think that will impact support for independence."

She also repeated that voting to leave the EU if Scotland did not want to would make another vote "unstoppable" and renewed her attack on Jeremy Corbyn for being unable to "unite" his party.

But she was also questioned about criticism of the SNP government in the Scottish Parliament over education and health, and whether devolved tax-raising powers could be used to combat austerity.

She said she was "not going to rule in or rule out anything" on using the "flexible" power to move the basic and top rate of income tax up or down by 3p, but signalled this would not be "progressive" as the poorest would be hit.

Ms Sturgeon said the Institute of Fiscal Studies claim that spending on the NHS rose in Scotland by just 1% compared to 6% in England 2009 doesn’t "tell the full story". "Spending per head is higher than in England," she said.

The SNP leader made the same defence when questioned over schools spending and dismissed a Government report suggesting numeracy had fallen in Scotland between 2011 and 2013 as a "snapshot survey".

Arguing the higher education and university attainment gap is "narrowing", she added: "Judge me on this over the next Parliament if I'm re-elected."