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2 June 2017, 13:29
Labour supporters in England would be ''appalled'' if their party allows the Tories back into government and rejects a ''progressive alliance'' with the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
With polls narrowing in the run-up to June 8, Scotland's First Minister said it was ''no longer inevitable'' Theresa May will be returned as prime minister with an increased majority.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has rejected a formal deal with the SNP to lock the Tories out of power at Westminster in the event of a hung parliament - but there is still a prospect the parties could work together informally on a vote-by-vote basis.
Mr Corbyn has insisted: ''We are not doing deals, we're not doing coalitions, we're not doing any agreements.''
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said there would be ''no need to negotiate'' with the SNP because the party would face the prospect of backing a minority Labour administration or ''letting the Tories back in''.
Ms Sturgeon told an interview: ''If there was to be a hung parliament, if the parliamentary arithmetic allowed it, then I would want the SNP to be part of a progressive alternative to a Conservative government.
''Not in a coalition, I don't envisage any formal coalitions, but on an issue-by-issue basis to put forward progressive policies and to see a progressive agenda.''
With the Tory lead in the polls shrinking, and with less than a week to go until the election, Ms Sturgeon said Scotland was once again ''taking centre stage'' in UK politics.
She added: ''I think many people south of the border would be appalled at how Scottish Labour is behaving where they seem to be more determined to somehow stop the SNP than they are to stop the Tories, which I think would be inexplicable to most people in the Labour Party south of the border.''
A surge in Conservative support north of the border has suggested there could be between six and a dozen Scottish Tory MPs after June 8 - in what would be the party's best Westminster election result for two decades.
Ms Sturgeon said voters have a ''real opportunity in Scotland to hold the Tories in check and make sure we don't send Tory MPs to boost the majority and give Theresa May a rubber-stamp''.
With some reports suggesting pro-Union parties in Scotland are working together to defeat the SNP by limiting campaigning in some areas, Ms Sturgeon said: ''I think it is shameful that Labour appear to be in cahoots with the Tories in Scotland.
''Instead of working to hold a Tory government in check, you have Scottish Labour appearing to be in talks with the Tories or appearing to be in informal arrangements with the Tories to boost a Tory majority.
''I think most people would be appalled at that.
''As this campaign has gone on, I think more and more people have seen what the consequences of a Tory government with an increased majority would be and they don't like that.''