Scotland’s First Minister has said she is not in favour of a snap general election, stressing that holding one would be an attempt by Boris Johnson to “take everybody in his own party down with him”.
The UK Prime Minister won a confidence vote on Monday night, but 148 of his own MPs – including four of the six Scottish MPs – voted for his removal, causing rumours to swirl of a possible early general election.
But Nicola Sturgeon warned such a move would not favour the Tories or the Prime Minister, who would carry the scars of partygate into campaigning.
Speaking to journalists after she opened the new STUC headquarters in Glasgow, the First Minister said: “If Boris Johnson wants to call an election, it’ll be because he knows he’s finished and he wants to just take everybody in his own party down with him.
“Do I believe Boris Johnson is capable of such a selfish act? Yes I do.
“That’s something his own party should be thinking of.”
The First Minister added: “I don’t think there should be a snap general election – if he decides to call a snap general election, my party will fight it and we’ll fight it with, I think, a reasonable prospect of doing well.
“Boris Johnson needs to stop thinking about what’s best for him and start thinking about what’s best for the country he’s supposed to lead.”
She continued: “If he calls a snap general election, he’s not doing that to help the country.
“He’s doing that only from the perspective of his own preservation. I don’t think it would work because the country would boot him out.”
Speaking to journalists on Monday after the result was announced by the backbench 1922 Committee chairman Graham Brady, the UK Prime Minister ruled out the idea of going to the country soon, saying: “I see no point in focusing on anything else and I’m certainly not interested in snap elections. What I’m interested in is delivering right now for the people of this country.”
Ms Sturgeon went on to claim that Tory MPs “fluffed” the chance to “get rid of a Prime Minister who has zero credibility” following the Sue Gray report.
“I think that’s created for them the worst of all worlds, but that’s not my main concern,” she said.
“My main concern is that has saddled the UK – and Scotland within the UK – with a completely lame duck Prime Minister at a time of huge challenge, not least the cost-of-living crisis.
“For Scotland, of course, it underlines again and reinforces the democratic deficit.
“We have the outrageous, unacceptable situation right now where Scotland is being governed by a Prime Minister who has the confidence of just two of the 59 MPs in Scotland and one of them is on Boris Johnson’s government payroll.”
The First Minister went on to say that if the Prime Minister had “any integrity, he would have resigned by now”.