In Brief

Sturgeon says Johnson ‘dangerous and unfit for office’

SNP leader vows to protect Scotland from the Conservatives

Boris Johnson is “dangerous and unfit for office” and a government led by the Tory would pose “unprecedented dangers,” Nicola Sturgeon will warn today.

As she launches the party’s election manifesto, the SNP leader will promise to protect Scotland from the Tories, saying that a vote for her party on 12 December will be a vote to “escape Brexit and put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands”.

She is expected to say: “At the heart of this election is a fundamental question for the people of Scotland - who should decide Scotland's future - the people who live here or Boris Johnson? The future of our country is on the line.​

“It means Tory cuts to the Scottish budget, the NHS under threat from a Tory-Trump trade deal, a power grab on the Scottish Parliament, children being forced into poverty and a disastrous Brexit deal that will hit jobs, living standards and workers' rights.​”

After Johnson ruled out granting the formal consent that the Scottish first minister says would be necessary to ensure a fresh Scottish independence referendum was legal, Sturgeon will call for a second poll next year.

Her approach is already facing criticism. The Times says her description of Johnson is “highly personal” while The Herald predicts that many Scots will “bite the bullet and vote for the Tories” due to Sturgeon’s insistence on a new referendum.

However, the Daily Record says the SNP is “the only option left if we are to cut the deadweights of Westminster, Brexit and Trident loose”.

The SNP won 35 seats at the last general election in 2017, making it the third biggest party in the UK Parliament. The Scottish party hopes to hold the balance of power if there is a hung parliament and Sturgeon is expected to set out some of the demands she would make in return for supporting another party.

A key demand will be significantly increasing funding for the NHS across the UK. The SNP will demand that the next UK government raise per-head health spending south of the border to levels seen in Scotland, which it says is currently £136 per head higher.

Doing so would see an increase of NHS spending in England of more than £35bn in resource funding.

Earlier this month, she outlined her conditions for backing Labour. She said Labour would need to back the “principle” of a second independence referendum.

The first minister said she would also seek greater powers for the Scottish Parliament, and an end to austerity.

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