Nicola Sturgeon has said the choice of having Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson as the next prime minister is like “asking me if I’d prefer to be run down by a lorry or a bus”.
The Scottish First Minister was speaking as part of a Newsnight Special being broadcast from Edinburgh – and made clear she did not endorse either candidate.
During the interview she criticised Mr Johnson, saying the potential of him in Number 10 “gives you a sense of how out of kilter the whole UK political system has become”.
But when asked about a preference between the two, Ms Sturgeon said: “With the greatest of respect that’s asking me if I’d prefer to be run down by a lorry or a bus.
“I think both of them in different ways would not be good for Scotland. I don’t think that any Tory prime minister who actually doesn’t have a mandate from Scotland is a good thing for Scotland.
“Don’t take this as an endorsement of Jeremy Hunt because I don’t endorse Jeremy Hunt – but I look at Boris Johnson right now, and I find it really difficult to get my head round how any rational person could seriously contemplate putting him into the highest political office in the UK.
“And the fact that the Tories appear very seriously to be contemplating doing that I think gives you a sense of how out of kilter the whole UK political system has become and how out of touch the Tories are with mainstream opinion in Scotland.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions last week, SNP MP Ian Blackford branded Boris Johnson a “racist” who is “not fit for office”.
When asked if she had the same view as her party’s leader at Westminster, she said: “I agree with Ian Blackford and he has made…” before interviewer Kirsty Wark said: “He is a racist then.”
Ms Sturgeon replied: “I don’t know what’s in Boris Johnson’s head when he makes the overtly racist comments that he makes so I don’t know whether he’s just doing it for headlines or whether it reflects actual sentiment on his part.
“But if you make overtly racist comments like the comments he made about Muslim women, you can’t then throw your hands up in horror when people call you a racist, because that looks as if that’s what you are.”
The programme was recorded in Edinburgh to mark 20 years since the Scottish Parliament’s creation.
Speaking about the milestone, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think the biggest general change has been the sense of self confidence that came to Scotland as a result of the parliament.
“When you think about it, 20 years in the grand sweep of history is the blink of an eye and yet this parliament in that time has become firmly established as the democratic heart of the country.
“I talk to schoolchildren who don’t even remember days before this parliament.
“I think Scotland as a country carries itself a bit more confidently as a result of the establishment of this place.”