SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has firmly denied a newspaper’s claim she told a French diplomat she would prefer David Cameron in No 10 over Ed Miliband.
The Daily Telegraph claims to have seen a memo detailing how Scotland’s first minister privately said Labour’s leader was not “prime minister material”.
Labour said it was a “devastating revelation” because she had previously said she could work with the party.
But Ms Sturgeon tweeted that the story was “categorically, 100% untrue”.
French officials have also said that she had not expressed any preference as to who should be the next prime minister of the UK.
The Daily Telegraph claimed to have seen the 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 was the line that “she’d rather see David Cameron remain as PM (and didn’t see Ed Miliband as PM material)”, according to the paper.
However, BBC Scotland’s James Cook says a 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”.
Also, the French consul general in Edinburgh, Pierre-Alain Coffinier, has told the BBC Ms Sturgeon had not expressed any preference for a leader.
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.
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.
Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy seized on the Telegraph’s claims, saying it exposed the “uncomfortable truth behind the SNP’s general election campaign”.
“For months Nicola Sturgeon has been telling Scots she wants rid of David Cameron yet behind closed doors with foreign governments she admits she wants a Tory government.”
The BBC’s James Cook said: “While Nicola Sturgeon may or may not have said it… there are definitely some people within the Scottish National Party for whom five years of the Tories to attack would be a better outcome than getting into bed with Labour.”