Nicola Sturgeon has put independence at the heart of the SNP’s election campaign, saying she will interpret every vote for her party as an endorsement of a second referendum.

At the launch of her manifesto in GlasgowThe First Minister said an SNP win would be a "clear instruction" to hold Indyref2 next year.

READ MORE: SNP launch general election manifesto

The strategy gives the Conservatives and other Unionist parties a clear line of attack in the weeks up to December 12.

The Scottish Tories said that, given the SNP's clear position and Labour's readiness to grant Indyref2, it "could not be clearer" that only a vote for Boris Johnson would stop Ms Sturgeon's ambitions.

The SNP manifesto states: “A vote for the SNP at this election.. Is a vote to endorse the following position:

“The people of Scotland have the right to choose their own future in a new referendum on becoming an independent country. 

READ MORE: Boris Johnson offers Tory 'guarantee' to block Indyref2

“It must be for the Scottish Parliament not Westminster to decide when an independent referendum should be held and the SNP intends that it will be in 2020.

"An SNP election victory will be a clear instruction by the people of Scotland that a new referendum or independence should be held next year, on a precise date to be determined by the Scottish Parliament."

Mr Johnson yesterday ruled out Indyref2 if he was returning as Prime Minister, while Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour would not grant it until after the 2021 election.

Ms Sturgeon said Scotland’s future was “on the line” in the election, and only a vote for the SNP offered an escape from Brexit and a choice on Scotland’s future. 

She said that in a hung parliament she would demand a second referendum in late 2020, another £4bn NHS spending for Scotland and the return of almost £14bn in funds removed from the Scottish budget since 2010 by austerity cuts.

She said she also wanted the devolution of drug and immigration laws.

Ms Sturgeon was repeatedly challenged about her willingness to work with Jeremy Corbyn given the Chief Rabbi’s condemnation of Labour’s failure to root out anti-semitism.

She said she deplored anti-semitism, but did not choose Labour’s leader, and would try to bring SNP “values” to the table in any negotiations.

She said: "I don’t choose the leader of the Labour party. I have said if I did choose the leader of Labour party I wouldn’t choose Jeremy Corbyn, so that probably gives you the answer to that question.

"If Labour wanted to change its leader, I wouldn’t have any great objection to that [but] I’m not in charge of that decision."

She added: "I would rather Scotland wasn’t in the position of having to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea for the Prime Minister of our country.

“I make no bones about that. I could never support Boris Johnson as Prime Minister for a whole host of reasons. On issues of racism and racist comments he certainly has a charge sheet of his own to answer there.

“I’d expect any Prime Minister, any candidate for Prime Minister, to absolutely take on these issues centrally.

“While I’d far rather Scotland was independent, I’d say to people not just in Scotland but across the UK, I can’t decide the outcome of the election in England.

"But if Jeremy Corbyn is in a position, and Labour are in a position, of being able to form a minority government, then better to have the influence of the SNP in there.”

Until independence, she said SNP MPs would use their influence to promote progressive policies across the UK including protecting the NHS, greater parental leave, the ringfencing of oil and gas revenues to create a green jobs fund, and “removing Trident from Scotland”.

Launching the manifesto in Yorkhill in Glasgow, the SNP leader said “This election really matters - the future of Scotland is on the line. The opportunities for this and future generations are at stake. The kind of country we want to be is on the ballot paper.

“At the heart of it all, I ask people in Scotland to consider this simple but fundamental question before you cast your vote: Who should decide Scotland’s future – the people who live here or Boris Johnson?

“A vote for the SNP on December 12 is a vote to escape Brexit. It’s a vote to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands. And it is a vote to deprive Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party of a majority

“In this election, the SNP is the challenger to the Tories in every single seat they hold. The reality is this: in Scotland only a vote for the SNP can defeat the Tories. By voting SNP we can lock the Tories out of office – but we can do that only by voting SNP.”

On independence, she said: “People in Scotland have the right to consider an alternative future. One in which Scotland’s future is in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s. 

“A future with Scotland as an equal partner with our closest friends in the rest of the UK and with the EU.

“In an independent Scotland we will always get the governments we vote for. The NHS will always be protected from a Tory-Trump trade deal. Decisions about taxation and social security will be made by the Scottish Parliament. We will have a migration policy tailored to Scotland’s needs.

“Scotland is a country of extraordinary talent and resources. We can be confident that a better future for Scotland is possible.

“We don’t have to put up with Brexit and the Westminster mess. We have the power at this election to change all that.

“At this election I am asking you to vote SNP to escape Brexit, to lock Boris Johnson’s Tories out of office and to take power into the hands of the people of Scotland.”

Despite insisting on Indyref2 in late 2020, Ms Sturgeon again failed to set out her timetable for completing the transition to independence after a Yes vote.

In 2014, the SNP said it would take 18 months, in time for the 2016 Scottish election.

However Ms Sturgeon's current timetable would only leave around half that time until the 2021 Scottish election, when the parliamentary arithmetic might change.

She acknowledged the election timing presented a "difficulty", but refused to said any more on a timetable until before the referendum. 

Acting Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: "Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that every vote she wins in this election, she’ll take as a mandate for another independence referendum.

“Every vote for Scottish Labour is a vote that will grant her one.

"It could not be clearer therefore that every voter who wants to stop Nicola Sturgeon taking us back to another referendum, perhaps within a year, needs to lend their vote to the Scottish Conservatives.

"That is the only realistic option.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Lesley Laird said: "If anyone was under any illusion that the SNP were a progressive party, today’s launch in Glasgow will have opened their eyes to the truth.

"The spectacle of Nicola Sturgeon threatening a potential Corbyn-led Labour Government with the prospect of yet another Tory government if it does not bow to her demands demonstrates yet again that the SNP’s priority is separatism, not socialism.

"The SNP have demonstrated that they are masters of spin and of little else."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said Ms Sturgeon  should "learn the lessons of Brexit, not repeat them with independence".

He said: "Sometimes it seems like Nicola Sturgeon has learned nothing from the last three years. Breaking up a successful political and economic union means uncertainty and chaos. We need to learn the lessons of Brexit, not repeat them with independence.

"Scotland faces many challenges with the NHS, education and the environment but the answer to these is not more constitutional division and upheaval with independence.  

“All of these issues are being neglected because the Conservatives and the SNP are stuck on repeat. We can only build a brighter future for Scotland by stopping Brexit and stopping independence so that we can tackle the climate emergency, improve mental health services and expand childcare.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said the manifesto was “a blueprint for division and chaos”.

She said: “The SNP will use every vote it receives to argue for another unwanted referendum on leaving the UK, but most voters do not want their ballot paper at this election to be used to divide communities, friends and families with another referendum.

"Breaking up the UK would lead to years of tax rises and spending cuts to vital services; scrapping the pound; and a hard border with England. Scotland is stronger in the UK."