Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of plotting to install Jeremy Corbyn in 10 Downing Street in exchange for getting a second independence referendum.
Ruth Davidson said the First Minister had offered a “progressive alliance” between the SNP and Labour because Mr Corbyn has said he would be “absolutely fine” about staging another independence vote.
But Ms Sturgeon wrote off the Labour leader’s chances of becoming Prime Minister, either by winning a majority or with the help of her party, describing the possibility as “pie in the sky”.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, the SNP leader told MSPs opinion polls show Mr Corbyn “ain’t going anywhere near number 10 Downing Street on his own or with the help of anybody else.”
She argued that Scots should vote SNP to provide the strongest opposition possible to “out-of-control” Tory government and warned traditional Labour supporters there was no “safe” tactical vote for the Conservatives.
Ms Sturgeon appeared to concede that the Conservatives will win the general election, and the only question is by how much, only a day after she raised the prospect of an unofficial alliance between Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green MPs to keep the Tories out of power.
Scottish Conservative party leader Ruth Davidson during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament
This prompted Theresa May to warn that Britain will be run by a “coalition of chaos” if Mr Corbyn wins power. Similar Tory claims during the 2015 election inflicted major damage on Labour’s campaign in England.
The Prime Minister has also said she will block Ms Sturgeon’s demand for another independence referendum until Scots can see how Brexit has worked out and there is strong public support for another vote.
However, Mr Corbyn said last month that another referendum would be “absolutely fine” and neither Westminster nor Labour should block one.
Ms Davidson said yesterday: “The First Minister’s very first intervention in the election has been to say that she would put Jeremy Corbyn in number 10.
“Is that because, uniquely, the First Minister sees in Mr Corbyn the wisdom, the foresight and the leadership skills that are needed in a Prime Minister, or could it possibly be because, in his own words, Jeremy Corbyn is “absolutely fine” with another referendum on independence?”
But Ms Sturgeon said: “This is pretty tired stuff from the Tories. We only have to take one look at the polls to know that Jeremy Corbyn ain’t going anywhere near number 10 Downing Street—on his own or with the help of anybody else.”
During exchanges with Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, she argued the election’s “core issue” was Labour’s “unelectability”, which she argued raises the prospect of “an unfettered, out-of-control Tory Government.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “We know that the Prime Minister wants to silence opposition, so the question for Scotland is this: if people want a strong opposition to the Tories, if they want MPs who will stand up and be a voice for Scotland, then the only party to support at this election is this one, the SNP.”
The previous day Ms Davidson argued that Labour and Lib Dem supporters should vote tactically for her party to stop a second independence referendum and preserve the UK.
But the First Minister said “there is no safe tactical Tory vote at the election” because of the “damage” a Tory Government with a larger majority could inflict.
However, Ms Sturgeon dodged questions from Willie Rennie, the Scottish Labour leader, about whether the SNP election manifesto would include a pledge that an independent Scotland would immediately try and join the EU.
The SNP leader said she supported EU membership but said her priority was being in the single market. Alex Salmond has previously said a separate Scotland would join the European Free Trade Association to achieve this aim.