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Gap between Scotland and Westminster 'never been wider'

The gap between Scotland and Westminster has "never been wider" Nicola Sturgeon has said at the Scottish National Party conference in Glasgow, as she pledged the SNP will "always" make the case for independence.

The Scottish First Minister had been forced to delay plans for a second Scottish independence referendum, after suffering heavy losses in June's snap general election.

While she insisted her party still has a mandate to hold such a vote, she said she would "respect" the desire for greater clarity over Brexit before Scots go to the polls again.

  • ITV News correspondent Peter Smith reports

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Sturgeon: Corbyn is 'million miles' from Number 10

A "meltdown" in the Labour Party means Scottish voters must vote SNP to rein in an "unfettered, out-of-control" Tory government, Nicola Sturgeon believes.

Scotland's First Minister described Jeremy Corbyn as being "a million miles" from Number 10 and emphasised the importance of electing a strong opposition to the Conservatives.

Speaking to Peston on Sunday, Ms Sturgeon said the polls indicated there would not be the necessary "arithmetic" for a coalition involving SNP and Labour.

"She [Theresa May] called this election to strengthen her hand, in her own words, and that makes it all the more important that there are strong voices of opposition in the House of Commons after this election and that we don't have an unfettered, out-of-control Tory government, able to do whatever it wants," she said.

"From a Scottish point of view, the only way to make sure there are strong voices standing up for Scotland is to vote SNP."

She added that the biggest risk from the election would be to hand a Conservative government a "blank cheque and free hand" over Brexit negotiations.

Claims IndyRef2 may be halted by Tory boost 'ludicrous'

Nicola Sturgeon has said it is "ludicrous" to claim her drive for a second independence referendum could be derailed by a surge in Tory support in Scotland.

The First Minister and SNP leader accepted the Conservatives in Scotland had been boosted by a record number of local councillors north of the border but said the SNP had still "won this election comfortably".

"Yes, the Tories made gains and had a good performance by their standards - but that support came from Labour not the SNP," she said.

"So Labour and the Tories are fighting it out for second place while the SNP continues to be comfortably in first place."

Mrs Sturgeon said the results showed the preference of voters for her party that "fought on local issues" against a Tory campaign that put the referendum "centre stage" and "lost" the election.

"They chose to fight the election on the issue of an independence referendum, they talked about nothing else, they didn't have any policies for local government," she said.

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