28/05/2017 20:20 BST

Nicola Sturgeon Says SNP Open To 'Progressive Alliance' With Labour Under Hung Parliament

As Tory lead in the polls narrows ...

Nicola Sturgeon has suggested the SNP would be open to a “progressive alliance” with Labour if the general election results in a hung parliament.

But Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader said it was unlikely Jeremy Corbyn would be in the position to be Prime Minister, arguing the “reality” was that the Conservatives would secure a majority.

Her comments come as a clutch of new polls have shown the Conservative lead over Labour shrinking as the June 8 vote approaches, including one which put Theresa May’s party just six points clear.

The ORB poll for the Sunday Telegraph had Tories down two points in the past week on 44%, six points ahead of  Corbyn’s Labour on 38% (up four points), with Lib Dems on 7% (unchanged) and Ukip on 5% (down two).

In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil, Sturgeon was asked if the SNP would work with Corbyn on his tax and spending promises. Sturgeon replied:

“We will work for progressive policies, and we will work for the policies we put forward in our manifesto.

“If there was to be a hung parliament, of course we would look to be part of a progressive alliance that pursued progressive policies. But let’s get back to the reality of this election. The reality of this election, even with the narrowing of the polls, is that we are going to face a Tory government perhaps with a bigger majority.

“My priority in this election is to say to the people of Scotland, if you want Scotland’s interests to be protected and our voice heard, then you’ve got to vote SNP to make sure that’s the case.

“Voting Tory delivers Tory MPs who will rubber-stamp Theresa May. Voting Labour in Scotland risks letting the Tories in.”

Corbyn has ruled out a coalition between a Labour government and the SNP after the vote, and renewed his line tonight.

The Labour leader killed off early the idea of any coalition with the SNP, which Ed Miliband failed to do during the 2015 general election campaign.

In his memoir, Ed Balls revealed that Miliband’s big error in that campaign had been to allow himself and Labour to be painted by the Tories as being in the pocket of then SNP leader Alex Salmond.

The Conservative Party, meanwhile, seized on the statement and claimed Sturgeon would “prop up” a Corbyn-led “coalition of chaos”, which has been one of its major lines of attack.