Nicola Sturgeon rejects 'ludicrous' claims Tory surge could stop referendum bid

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18 May, 2017

Nicola Sturgeon has said Scottish voters face a "straightforward choice" in the General Election between the SNP or Conservative MPs who will "rubber-stamp" the Prime Minster's hard Brexit and austerity policies.

Labour was beaten into third place by the Conservatives in Scotland, where the SNP was comfortably the largest party despite failing to take control of target councils.

The council elections will give the SNP all the info they need on where to channel resources to stop the Tories.

The SNP won the election nationally, with the largest number of councillors and the highest vote share of any party.

Councillors Stocks said: "As far I'm concerned we won the election in North Lanarkshire and it is our right to try to form the next administration". And the SNP have not had any difficulty increasing their vote in local by-elections during the last two years.

They can reward Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond by sending another SNP cheerleader for independence to Westminster.

And this is where we'll be until June 8th and most likely for some time after that, two entrenched camps - unionist and nationalist - shouting at one another about the constitution.

The comment fits with a national Conservative decision to carefully downplay their success, although it appears many inside the party are expectant of a significant win north of the border.

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The Scottish Conservative leader said she was "nervous" about the outcome of the vote.

The election results showed the SNP in the ascendency, with the Tories and Labour "scrapping for second place", she said. Over one in ten votes on May 4 were cast for independent candidates - in the Highlands and the Islands in particular, council elections are often still genuinely local rather than partisan battles. It is pretty clear that Theresa May, on the strength of support in England, is going to win the general election.

"SNP councillors and SNP councils will put their communities and the people of Scotland first".

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale told the BBC News Channel: "I know they (the SNP) are screaming and shouting just now and delighting in the result, but the reality is the SNP took every single seat in that city in 2015, every single seat in 2016, they should have walked it".

Liberal Democrats improved by one point to 9% and Ukip were unchanged on 7% - however the figure was released before the humiliating losses during local elections.

He said: "Congratulations to all of @SNP councillors elected in Moray, the largest group on @The MorayCouncil #Council17".

But she also stressed: "Equally, if our colleagues in the Greens, who have done well in this election, if they would like to be able to make a formal contribution we're up for having that conversation with them".

But Labour losing control of the council is "part of a historical issue with the party in general, in the context of Blairism and its position in the independence referendum where it sided with the Tories", Mr Smith added.


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