NICOLA Sturgeon will tomorrow face an uncomfortable political choice between abandoning a manifesto promise to give the air industry a £150m tax cut or siding with Ruth Davidson’s Tories to defend it.

Scottish Labour have created the dilemma for the First Minister by forcing a Holyrood vote on the SNP’s election pledge to halve and then scrap air passenger duty in Scotland.

Labour, the LibDems and Greens all oppose the tax break, which they say will boost airline traffic and add at least 60,000 tonnes to carbon dioxide emissions and damage the climate.

Although their combined numbers are not enough to defeat the Scottish Government on Wednesday, the vote could see SNP MSPs lining up with the Tories to support the policy.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon signals U-turn over controversial air tax 

The choice comes as the First Minister tries to put as much distance as possible between herself and Ms Davidson, who returns to Holyrood this week vowing to replace Ms Sturgeon at the 2021 election.

The political discomfort adds to the growing pressure on Ms Sturgeon to ditch the air tax cut, which was devised by Alex Salmond to boost the economy.

Last autumn, Ms Sturgeon suddenly decided to back a People’s Vote on Brexit after it became clear only the SNP, Tories and DUP were flatly opposing it.

Ms Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” at her recent party conference, to highlight the threat posed to humanity by runaway climate change.

She then hinted at changing the airline tax cut, saying it would be considered as part of a broad review of government policies in light of the need for lower carbon emissions.

However she has yet to abandon the policy outright, despite it being delayed repeatedly because of complications with EU state aid rules.

At the 2016 Holyrood election, the SNP promised a 50 per cent cut in Air Departure Tax - the proposed devolved version of Air Passenger Duty - by 2021.

The standard rate is currently £26 for short haul and £172 for long haul flights.

However last month ministers said ADT would not be devolved for the start of the 2020/21 tax year, the last full tax year of the parliament, meaning the policy is already close to collapse.

Scottish Labour MSP Colin Smyth said: “Like the rest of the world, Scotland needs to face up to climate emergency our planet faces. That’s why the misguided policy of cutting air departure tax needs to go.

READ MORE: SNP delay manifesto pledge to cut air tax for third time in 'complete shambles' 

Nicola Sturgeon joined Labour in declaring a climate emergency – but as it stands her flagship policy would further contribute to climate change and only make it worse.

“The last thing our public services need are more cuts, the last thing our planet needs is more emissions and the last thing our society needs is more inequality.

“So it would be ludicrous to press on with a £150m tax cut that benefits the richest the most and increases emissions.

“Holyrood can take the first step towards facing up to the scale of the climate crisis, but uniting and rejecting this policy.”

LibDem MSP Liam McArthur added: “The SNP have been in the pocket of the aviation industry for years.

“When we asked what the evidence was for abolishing APD, a minister referred us to a report on the Easyjet website commissioned by four airlines.

“If the SNP is serious about upgrading our planet’s predicament to a climate emergency then it must finally abandon this tax cut for airline companies.

“Passenger numbers are going up and up already. This money should be going towards our schools, hospitals and making the changes needed to our transport system that can help save our planet. It is time these priorities got the first class treatment instead.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The First Minister led the way in declaring a Climate Emergency and moved immediately to increase Scotland’s emissions targets which will now be the most stringent legislative targets in the world.

“The Scottish Government will be reviewing a range of policies to ensure we meet those targets and we look forward to receiving support from all parties represented in Holyrood for measures such as Work Place Parking which will play a part in reducing transport emissions.”

Industry body Airlines UK said an ADT cut would “make Scotland a more attractive place” for carriers to add capacity and deliver new routes.

“Aviation is by its very nature a global industry, and like the UK Government we back an international approach to emissions reduction,” it said.