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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has denied that she told a French diplomat she would prefer David Cameron in No 10 over Ed Miliband.

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 09:47 GMT, Apr 4, 2015 |
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The UK based news paper published a civil service memo claiming Scotland’s first minister privately said Labour’s leader was not “PM material”. Ms Sturgeon tweeted the story was “categorically, 100% untrue”. French officials said she did not express a preference for prime minister. Labour said the claim was “damning”. The news paper published on its website a transcript of what it says is an official British government memorandum which includes details of a private meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador to the UK. Included in a civil servant’s summary is the line that Ms Sturgeon would “rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn’t see Ed Miliband as PM material)”.

‘Completely false’

London base media says that source close to the first minister described civil service minutes of her meeting with the French ambassador as making “no mention of a discussion of Ms Sturgeon’s preference for prime minister”. “The source said the minutes showed the discussion focused on the possibility of a referendum on British membership of the European Union,” adds Cook. The source insists the Telegraph story is “completely false”. The French consul general in Edinburgh, Pierre-Alain Coffinier, has also told the media that Ms Sturgeon had not expressed any preference for a leader. He later told another media that: “I don’t know where this comes from.” That was echoed by the spokesman for the French ambassador Sylvie Bermann, who said Ms Bermann had met Ms Sturgeon in Edinburgh, but that the SNP leader had not expressed an opinion on who she would prefer as prime minister.

‘Damning revelations’

Both the SNP and Labour have ruled out a formal coalition in the event of a hung Parliament. Ms Sturgeon has hinted at offering informal support to Ed Miliband, should he become prime minster, in return for steering Labour away from “implementing Tory policies” on austerity. She has ruled out a deal of any sort with the Conservatives. Labour leader Ed Miliband said the claims were “damning revelations”. He said: “What it shows is that while in public the SNP is saying they don’t want to see a Conservative government, in private they are actually saying they do want a Conservative government.”