SNP 'tempted' to stand candidates in England - Nicola Sturgeon


Nicola Sturgeon could be "tempted" to stand SNP candidates in England.

In a Big Issue interview, Scotland's First Minister said she has had a lot of contact from people in England and has found that the London branch of the SNP is "booming".

The party reported a jump in membership applications from south of the border after Ms Sturgeon's performance in TV debates before the 2015 general election and is said to have about 1,000 members in England.

In the interview, conducted by Scottish actor Alan Cumming, Ms Sturgeon said: "I'm tempted ... There are a lot (of people) in England - a lot who contact me - who feel completely disenfranchised that there is nobody speaking up for them.

"Our London branch is booming at the moment."

Cumming joined Ms Sturgeon on the campaign trail during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and described her as "inspirational" in his Big Issue article.

He added: "She is the well-mannered yet rampant lioness and we are her lucky cubs."

Speaking before Ms Sturgeon's recent phone call from US president-elect Donald Trump, the First Minister told Cumming that she would meet the tycoon if he comes to Scotland.

She said: "Obviously he spends time in Scotland, he has Scottish ancestry and if he comes - as I'm sure he will - he's the President of America and if the opportunity is there, I'd meet him.

"I've written to him to congratulate him. I don't think it's any secret that I would rather that he hadn't been elected.

"But he has, and so I'm going to respect that, but I'm not going to abandon my own values, just as I'm sure he's not going to abandon the things he believes in.

"Hopefully we can have a relationship based on values, although I do hope he does abandon some of the values that he campaigned on.

"He's going to be the President of America. There's no point in pretending otherwise."

Mr Trump called Ms Sturgeon last Friday to discuss the ''long-standing relationship between Scotland and the United States" despite being stripped of his role as a business ambassador for Scotland over controversial comments during his presidential campaign.

Asked by Cumming for her hopes for 2017, Ms Sturgeon said: "That it is slightly calmer than 2016."