SNP could ‘make life difficult’ for Starmer without co-operation, Yousaf warns

The Scottish First Minister said independence would be ‘front and centre’ of his party’s general election campaign.

The SNP could “make life very difficult” for Labour after the next general election if Sir Keir Starmer does not co-operate with it, Humza Yousaf has said.

The Scottish First Minister said a demand for a second independence referendum would be “top of the list” of his party’s requests if Labour needs help forming a government at Westminster.

The Labour leader has repeatedly said he will not do a deal with the SNP after the election.

During an interview on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show, Mr Yousaf said independence will be “front and centre” of the SNP’s campaign for the vote.

Political poll
Sir Keir Starmer has said he will not do a deal with the SNP (Ian West/PA)

He spoke of his desire to grow support for independence, saying: “I don’t want to be there or thereabouts, I want independence to be the consistent, settled will.

“At the moment, for example, it’s pretty obvious that independence is not the consistent, settled will of the Scottish people.”

Asked if it is realistic that Scotland will remain part of the UK for another five years, he said: “Not if I’ve got anything to do with it.”

The SNP leader also said he has spoken to former first minister Nicola Sturgeon recently and said she is “in a good place and doing well”.

He continued: “Why would I not want to get some advice from arguably one of the best politicians, the most impressive politicians, Europe has seen over the last couple of decades?”

On the general election expected next year, he said the SNP will not prop up a Tory minority government, but noted minority governments often need help passing budgets.

SNP finances investigation
Nicola Sturgeon is ‘doing well’, her successor as First Minister said (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Yousaf said: “We would never prop up a Conservative government, ever. Underline that, put that in bold.

“But, of course, if Labour do not want to co-operate with us, then we would make life very difficult for them.”

This could include on the legislative process and the passing of budgets, he said.

Mr Yousaf, who succeeded Ms Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister in March, also ruled out a suggestion from Alex Salmond that pro-independence parties should form an alliance at the general election.

Later this month, SNP members will gather for a special convention to discuss the way forward in their push for independence.

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