Theresa May has warned that Britain will be run by an "unstable coalition of chaos" if SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon forms a "progressive alliance" with Labour and Lib Dems after the general election.
The Prime Minister said Britons faced a choice between “strong and stable” leadership under the Conservatives and “weak and unstable coalition of chaos” under Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The Tory leader set out her vision for Britain on the first informal day of the general election campaign.
Mrs May told supporters: “And when I took over as Prime Minister, the country needed clear vision and strong leadership to ensure that we got on with that job of delivering on Brexit for the British people and that’s exactly what we did.
“We delivered that strong and stable leadership, we delivered the certainty that strong and stable leadership can give. And that’s what leadership looks like.
Nicola Sturgeon: 'If the Parliamentary arithmetic lends itself to the SNP being part of a progressive alliance to keep the Tories out of Government then the SNP will seek to be part of that'
WILL OLIVER/ EPA
“Now there’s a very clear choice at this election. It’s a choice between strong and stable leadership under the Conservatives, or weak and unstable coalition of chaos led by Jeremy Corbyn.”
She said that “stability for the future [is] going to be our message as go out in to our election campaign. And I’,m looking forward to it.
“We’re going to fight a positive and optimistic campaign about the future of this country. I’m going to be getting out and about around the country.
“I’m going to be visiting communities in every part of the United Kingdom. And I’m looking forward to taking our case out there to people.
“Because this is the case – that it is only with the Conservatives that you get the strong and stable leadership that this country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.”
Mrs May concluded: “Give me the mandate to speak for Britain. Give me the mandate to fight for Britain, and give me the mandate to deliver for Britain.”
Earlier Ms Sturgeon, on a visit to her MPs outside Parliament, said: “If the Parliamentary arithmetic lends itself to the SNP being part of a progressive alliance to keep the Tories out of Government then the SNP will seek to be part of that as we said in 2015.
“Now we are not sure that there are many people who think Labour will be in a position on their own or with anyone else to form a Government.
“There will be many people across England who will see that as a matter for regret.
“My job first and foremost is to stand up for Scotland. Only the SNP will stand between Scotland and an increasingly hardline and right wing Tory Government.”
The SNP leader then made clear that she was not talking about a formal Coalition but about agreeing to support Labour and the Lib Dems on a vote by vote basis.
Ms Sturgeon then denied she had “opened the door to a Coalition”, saying: “I don’t think you will find anybody in any part of the UK who thinks it is.
“I was simply stating the fact as I did in 2015 that I don’t want to see a Tory Government so if there I was a Parliamentary artithmetic that lent itself to keeping the Tories out of Government I would want to see that happen.
“Are you asking me if I think that is likely? My answer is not, what I am looking at right now. So that means my objective in this election is not to worry about coalitions with anybody but making sure the SNP is in the strongest possible position to stand up and protect Scotland’s interests.”
General election 2017 | How MPs voted
General Election 2017 | MPs who voted against the election
The remarks were seized on by Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, who said: “Nicola Sturgeon has today made it clear: at this election, we face the grave danger of a weak Labour-SNP-Lib Dem alliance, headed by Jeremy Corbyn, plunging the UK into more instability and uncertainty.
“We know Jeremy Corbyn is ‘absolutely fine’ with the SNP’s demand for an immediate second referendum.
“There is therefore a real danger of Mr Corbyn and Ms Sturgeon cooking up a deal to suit both their purposes.
“The truth is that it’s only the Scottish Conservatives at this election who can be trusted to stand up for our Union, and work to get the best Brexit deal for all of us.
“For MPs like Angus Robertson and Pete Wishart, these comments will be as welcome as a hole in the head.
“They must now explain to their constituents why they think Jeremy Corbyn is the best person to become Prime Minister at this election, and why he is best placed to lead us through Brexit.”