Corbyn 'open' to #indyref2 talks as Sturgeon launches SNP manifesto

The party's leader in Westminster, Angus Robertson, said they wanted to set the United Kingdom on a new "fiscal path" and end Tory cuts, but did not explain why the tax had not previously been introduced by the SNP-led Scottish Parliament.

The IFS said the SNP planned "to go further than Labour in reversing planned benefit cuts - ending the cash-terms freeze to working-age benefits and revoking restrictions on tax credits and universal credit to the first two children in a family, for instance".

With SNP ministers now bracing for the loss of up to 15 seats at the election, the manifesto sought to bolster the SNP argument that wins in Scottish Westminster seats on 8 June would reinforce the party's mandate to stage a new referendum.

She condemned the Conservatives for their "assault on social security", saying it amounted to an attack on the poor, disabled and vulnerable in society.

"Nobody is fooled any more", she said.

"A majority of people in Scotland voted to remain in the European Union - but even many of those who voted to leave have real concerns about the extreme Brexit being pursued by the Prime Minister".

Sturgeon said she wanted an independence referendum towards the end of the Brexit negotiations, so that voters can make a "genuinely informed choice about the future of our country".

"We can not afford a Tory government with a free hand to do whatever it likes", Sturgeon said, arguing that "only the SNP is strong enough to keep the Tories in check".

"Last year's Holyrood election delivered the democratic mandate for Scotland having such a choice and the recent vote of the Scottish Parliament underlined it".

She added: "In these circumstances, any continued Tory attempts to block Scotland having a choice - when the time is right and the options are clear - would be democratically unsustainable".

His comments put him at odds with Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who only last week gave Scots a "cast-iron guarantee" that Labour would oppose another independence vote.

Responding to a question by Sky News' James Matthews, Ms Sturgeon said: "Scotland must have a choice". While Nicola Sturgeon campaigns for independence, standards in our schools have fallen and NHS services face closure.

A vote for the SNP, Sturgeon promised, "would make it impossible to continue ignoring those voices" that called for a "compromise" to allow Scotland to remain in the single market.

But speaking ahead of the launch of the document in Perth, Ms Sturgeon emphasised the likelihood of a Tory victory, despite a narrowing of the polls with Labour.

"Strip away the bluster and it's written down in black and white - (Sturgeon) wants to drag Scotland back to another referendum by as early as next Autumn", Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said in a statement.

"We can not find ourselves in a position where we have no alternative but to accept a damaging Brexit that is wreaking havoc on our economy and our public services".

  • Leroy Wright