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Sturgeon: General election is not about independence

The First Minister warned that Scots who back the Tories will cause 'deeper cuts'.

By STV News

Published 24 Apr 2017.

The general election is not about deciding if Scotland should be independent or not, the First Minister has said.

Scots will go to the polls on June 8 in a snap vote called by the Prime Minister last week.

The election comes shortly after Sturgeon called for a second independence referendum after Downing Street rejected her plans to keep Scotland inside the European single market even if the rest of the UK left.

The SNP leader warned Scottish voters who back the Conservatives in June's election will enable Theresa May to carry out "deeper cuts" on the country's public services.

Sturgeon made the comments in an interview on STV's Scotland Tonight programme.

She said the forthcoming vote "is not deciding whether or not Scotland is independent" and added it would be for a subsequent debate about the country's future where she "would have to set out the process for resecuring our future with Europe."

Sturgeon told STV she wants Scotland to be a "full member of the European Union" because it is in the country's interests "particularly in the European single market."

The First Minister declined, however, to say her party's forthcoming would contain a pledge for an independent Scotland to apply for EU membership.

Two opinion polls published on Sunday show the Conservatives are on course to unseat a number of SNP MPs on June 8.

Sturgeon warned Scots from backing the party at the poll.

She said: "There is no cost free, tactical Tory vote in this election.

"If people vote Tory then what they are doing is what the Prime Minister has asked them to do which is to strengthen her hand.

"Strengthening the hand of a Tory government has big implications for Scotland and the UK as a whole.

"It will mean more austerity, deeper cuts, and the voice of the Scottish Parliament being steamrollered so my message in this election is 'if you do not want the Tories to be strengthened and emboldened and instead you want to have a strong opposition and Scotland's voice being heard then loudly and clearly then the only way to do that is to vote SNP."

A Conservative spokesman said: "These are desperate comments from a First Minister who's rattled and watching Scotland turn its back on her separation obsession.

"People are fed up with the SNP's grievance agenda, and will make that clear at the ballot box."

You can watch the full Scotland Tonight interview with the First Minister at 10.30pm on STV.