Nicola Sturgeon: Vote SNP to escape the 'chaos' of Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon has urged voters to back the SNP to escape the "chaos" of Brexit.

During the SNP's general election launch in Edinburgh, Scotland's first minister touched on Brexit, the NHS and launched scathing attacks on Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Sturgeon told supporters that a vote for the SNP would put Scotland's future "firmly in Scotland's hands."

She said: "A vote for the SNP in contrast is a vote to escape Brexit. A vote for the SNP is a vote to take Scotland's future out of the hands of Boris Johnson and a broken Westminster system."

In a wide ranging speech to supporters, the SNP leader victory in Scotland at December 12's general election would give the country a "cast-iron" mandate for another Scottish independence referendum next year.

Ms Sturgeon vowed to protect the NHS from any future trade deals. Credit: PA

She said: "The SNP already has a cast-iron mandate for an independence referendum, based on our explicit manifesto pledge for the 2016 Holyrood election.

"So if the SNP wins this election in Scotland, the question should not be to me or to the SNP; what will you do if Westminster refuses?

"The question must be to Boris Johnson and to Westminster; what gives you the right to block the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland?"

She also confirmed her party would be willing to form a "progressive alliance" with other parties to "keep the Tories out of power".

The Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Plaid Cymru have formed a "Remain alliance" which has seen certain parties step aside in various parliamentary seats, but Ms Sturgeon's proposal seemingly hints at a willingness to work with Labour.

Ms Sturgeon vowed to protect the NHS from any future trade deals, promising to put forward a Bill during the next Parliament which would see the health service taken off the table in talks with any foreign nation.

"We will fight tooth and nail any attempt to expose the national health service to a post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump.

"That's why after the election, SNP MPs will bring forward a new law - an NHS protection Bill - to explicitly protect the NHS in all four countries of the UK from becoming a bargaining chip in future trade deals."

The Bill, if passed, would mean no new deal could be ratified unless the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland back the bill.

Labour and other opposition parties have expressed concern about the NHS being sold off to American healthcare companies as part of a trade deal post-Brexit.

Donald Trump said "everything was on the table" during a joint press conference with former prime minister Theresa May.

But the US president reined back on his remarks, saying he was no interested in striking a deal.

Boris Johnson has said the NHS is 'not for sale'. Credit: PA

The Conservatives have also said the NHS is not "up for grabs" in any trade deal.

Ms Sturgeon also called for increased devolution powers, which would allow Scotland to set its own laws on drugs.

The SNP has previously called on safe-spaces for addicts to receive treatment without the fear of criminalisation.

She also demanded the nuclear weapons are taken away from Clyde during her election launch speech.

Michael Gove criticised Ms Sturgeon's plan for a second Scottish independence referendum, saying it was the "last thing the country needs".

He said: "Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed her price for supporting Jeremy Corbyn would be a second independence referendum. That would mean two independence referendums next year: one on Europe, and one on Scotland's independence.

"It's the last thing this country needs. We need to get Brexit done and get on with people's priorities, but the SNP and Labour want more misery as two referendums consume all the air in our political system."