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'Desperate' SNP chief mocked over claim party could 'pull the strings' after next election

News'Desperate' SNP chief mocked over claim party could 'pull the strings' after next election

The SNP could “hold the balance of power” after the next general election, the party’s Westminster leader has boldly claimed.

Stephen Flynn said the local election results suggest the nationalist party could be in a position to “pull the strings” of a minority government.

The local elections have seen Labour seize key battlegrounds while the Tories have suffered heavy losses.

Mr Flynn said: “It’s increasingly clear that the SNP can hold the balance of power after the next general election – putting Scotland in prime position to pull the strings of a minority UK government.

“Voting SNP is the best way to beat the Tories in Scotland – and every vote for the SNP will be crucial to ensure Scotland wields real power and influence.

“With the pro-Brexit Labour Party lurching to the right, and becoming indistinguishable from the Tories, the SNP will make certain that real change happens.

“The SNP would ensure the power to determine Scotland’s future is transferred to Edinburgh, that the cost-of-living crisis becomes the main priority of Westminster and that relations with Europe are rebuilt and renewed.”

But Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray said Mr Flynn’s “desperation is on show for all to see”.

Mr Murray told the Express: “The same sad old song from the Tory playbook that the SNP play every election won’t wash this time. Labour have been clear – no deals.

“With the SNP mired in scandal and under police investigation, it is game on for Labour in Scotland and we stand ready to offer change to Scotland with a Labour government across the UK.”

Mr Flynn’s comments come as the SNP has been engulfed in chaos since the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon.

The party was battered by a vicious leadership contest which Humza Yousaf narrowly won.

And it is now at the centre of controversy over a police probe into its finances.

The Police Scotland investigation centres on how more than £600,000 in donations to the party earmarked for an independence referendum has been used.

The SNP’s former chief executive Peter Murrell, who is married to Nicola Sturgeon, and then treasurer Colin Beattie have both been arrested before being released without charge pending further investigation.

Labour is hoping to capitalise on the difficult period for Scotland’s dominant political party.

Gains north of the border would potentially help Sir Keir Starmer’s path to Downing Street at the next nationwide poll.

The Labour leader has boasted his success in the local elections is a sign his party is heading towards a majority at the next general election.

However polling experts have been more hesitant in making such predictions.

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