Scotland Election 2016

Opposition will not 'undermine' the SNP, says Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon on Sunday Politics Scotland
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon said she was not prepared to allow opposition parties to undermine the SNP's ability to implement its manifesto

Nicola Sturgeon has said the opposition will not "undermine" the SNP's authority, despite her party being two seats short of an overall majority following Thursday's election.

She told BBC Scotland there was "no doubt" the SNP won the Scottish Parliamentary elections.

Ms Sturgeon insisted the SNP's mandate for the new parliament was unequivocal.

But the Scottish Conservatives said Ms Sturgeon was "asserting a position that is defied by the actual result."

The SNP leader made the comments during an interview on the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland programme.

Independence campaign

She also dismissed suggestions the idea of a second referendum on independence had been "put to bed" after the SNP failed to secure another majority.

She instead re-affirmed her commitment for a campaign to be launched in the summer to change minds on the issue.

However, Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the idea was now firmly off the table.

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Media captionThe SNP leader dismissed suggestions the idea of a second referendum on independence had been "put to bed" after the SNP failed to secure another majority

To listen to the full Nicola Sturgeon interview you can watch again on the BBC iPlayer over the next seven days.

Ms Sturgeon has already ruled out coalition talks, saying on 6 May that the SNP's haul of 63 seats gave "a clear and unequivocal mandate" to govern as a minority administration.

As the dust settled on Thursday's election, she was quizzed on the politics programme.

'Unequivocal mandate'

Interviewer Gordon Brewer said: "You talked about having an unequivocal mandate. That's the bit you don't really have."

Ms Sturgeon responded: "I think I do. The SNP polled to just short of 50% - more than one million votes. More than double the number of votes of Labour and the Tories combined.

"We didn't win this election narrowly - we won the election comprehensively.

"If you look at the arithmetic of the parliament in terms of the SNP's strength there's virtually no change.

"We ended the last parliament with I think 64 MSPs, we've now got 63. The relative strengths of the opposition parties have changed.

Image caption Jackson Carlaw said he thought the public was uncomfortable with the "slightly overbearing arrogance" of the SNP government

"I'm fairly relaxed about the parliamentary arithmetic. There's no doubt the SNP won the election."

She added: "I want to govern in an inclusive way because I think it's the right thing to do to, try to find common ground and build on that common ground where we can.

"What I'm not prepared to do, given the scale of the SNP's mandate that we achieved in that election, is to allow opposition parties to undermine our ability to implement that manifesto.

On the subject of compromise, she said: "Government is about reaching out. Government is about trying to build alliances and I'm signalling very clearly that I'm going to do that.

"But I'm also saying very clearly to the opposition parties that I think they also need to recognise the scale and the emphatic nature of the mandate that the SNP has achieved.

"We were elected on a manifesto and as first minister I'm intending and absolutely determined to implement that manifesto."

'Overbearing arrogance'

Also on the programme. Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: "I think 'unequivocal' is to overstate it.

"I don't think there's any doubt in our mind that the preferred government in Scotland is one that is run by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

"But I think the public have a way of correcting things, and I think they were slightly uncomfortable with the slightly overbearing arrogance of the SNP government and they've decided that they want a proper opposition.

"I don't think she's got the right to stand there and say it's all about 'I'. It's about the parliament.

"I think she is asserting a position that is defied by the actual result."

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar, who also on the show, admitted he had been confident Labour would hold its place as the main opposition.

The party was reduced to 24 MSPs and pushed into third place by the Conservatives in Labour's worst result in Scotland for over a century.

He said: "If we're honest about it, it's a disappointing result."

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