SNP's John Swinney says party open to negotiations to get more power for Holyrood

ITV News Correspondent Peter Smith speaks to SNP Leader John Swinney about Scottish independence

First Minister and Scottish National Party Leader John Swinney has said he would be open to negotiating with whoever is elected on July 4 - Labour or Conservative - to get more power to Holyrood.

"I will always try to build the powers of the Scottish Parliament. I'm a believer in independence, I think independence is the answer for Scotland," Mr Swinney told ITV News on Wednesday.

Mr Swinney was asked if it was independence or nothing, or whether the party would engage with the next government, regardless of who was elected, on enhanced powers for the Scottish Parliament.

The upcoming election gives the SNP the chance to fight for a majority of seats, which they say would give them a mandate for independence - or more devolution.

While the SNP manifesto has yet to be published - it is expected next week - Mr Swinney has said that on page one, line one, there will be information about Scottish independence.

"The real challenge we face is that over the last few years since Brexit, the powers of the Scottish Parliament have been eroded by the UK Government," Mr Swinney told ITV News, saying that independence could be a solution.

"Of course I want to see that," Mr Swinney said. "I also want to see a commitment to ensure the people of Scotland can, as Anas Sarwar said last night, have the opportunity to decide their own future."

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, said that it is “for Scottish people to decide what the future of our country is" during the BBC Scottish leaders' debate on Tuesday.

On the topic of Brexit, Mr Swinney has said it contributed massively to the cost of living - another issue set to be a key part of the SNP manifesto.

Journalists typically ask politicians about the price of a pint of milk to gauge whether those in office are in touch with everyday people and the cost of goods, but instead Mr Swinney was asked about the price of olive oil, which has skyrocketed in recent months.

"I don't happen to know the price of Asda cooking oil but I can tell you that a four-pint carton of milk is £1.45," he answered.

At the time of writing one litre of oil in Asda, where Mr Swinney was interviewed by ITV News Correspondent Peter Smith, cost £7.80.

"Well that's an indication of the enormous inflation that's taken place," Mr Swinney said.

"It's also probably a product of Brexit as well, where the cost of products that originate in Europe are much larger as a consequence of Brexit."

As well as tackling the cost-of-living crisis, Mr Swinney has said the SNP will focus on austerity and how Brexit is affecting the Scottish economy.

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Mr Swinney launched the SNP's Westminster campaign on June 2 with an attack on the Conservative party's "destructive" years in office.

The people of Scotland “want rid of this disastrous, chaotic Tory government”, he said at the launch event in Glasgow.

He told the crowd that Scottish citizens want a party that is laser-focused on their concerns – a party that is going to “help them and their families live happier, healthier lives”.

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