Conservative attempts to prevent a second independence referendum “will crumble to dust” if the Tories do not win the general election in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Speaking to the assembled media outside the Houses of Parliament, the First Minister said: “if the SNP wins this election in Scotland and the Tories don’t, then Theresa May’s attempt to block our mandate to give the people of Scotland a choice over their own future when the time is right will crumble to dust.”
The First Minister was reacting to Theresa May’s shock decision to call a snap general election. The Prime Minister made the announcement on Tuesday despite having previously ruled such an eventuality out.
Nicola Sturgeon said the move was a clear attempt by the Tories to put the interests of their party before the interests of the country.
The First Minister added: “Yesterday it became clear beyond any doubt that for Theresa May, party comes before country.
“For months the Prime Minister has said that a snap early general election was, in her view, the last thing that the country needed.”
Nicola Sturgeon also lampooned May’s recent claim that “now was not the time” when the Prime Minister was asked about a second independence referendum. The SNP leader said the Tory leader had changed her mind “for reasons of party advantage”. The First Minister accused her Tory rival of calling a snap election in order to “crush the parliamentary opposition she faces.” and cited the “self-inflicted weakness of the Labour party” as a reason for the move.
The SNP leader said the UK was now facing the hardest possible Brexit, further austerity and more pain for the vulnerable.
Ms Sturgeon confirmed that the SNP would be fielding candidates in every Westminster seat in Scotland and would be seeking to “win the election”.
She said: “The SNP in this election will as we always do, stand up for Scotland. A vote for the SNP is a vote to protect Scotland’s interests.
“Only the SNP stands between Scotland and an increasingly hard-line Tory Government.
“It is a vote to ensure that the future of Scotland is decided, not here at Westminster, but in Scotland by the people of Scotland.”