Labour will be forced to deal with the SNP as minority parties “liberate” Westminster from its rigid history, according to Nicola Sturgeon.
The first minister said the referendum showed that Scotland can make Westminster “sit up and take notice”.
In an appeal across the party divide she appealed for Yes and No voters last year, and to those who have never voted for the SNP, to “seize this historic moment” and shift the balance of power away from Westminster to Scottish communities by backing the nationalists.
In a speech to a women’s business breakfast in Glasgow she sent a message to voters in the rest of the UK “we can and will be your allies” in making the London government work for everyone.
The audience heard that a parliament of minorities, “liberated from the rigid two or three party system” would be more representative, leading to better government for all the UK.
The Commons prided itself on its two opposing sets of benches, “separated from each other by two swords lengths”, a symbol of the old binary system of politics that did not reflect modern realities, Mr Sturgeon said.
The first minister argued the general election was a “collective opportunity” to make Westminster truly reflect the interests of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as Scotland.
And she claimed the changes would force Labour to work with the SNP despite repeated comments from Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy they would never deal with the nationalists.
“It is an opportunity to move from the binary, adversarial system – to end the metaphorical wielding of swords – to one where we are required to work together across party boundaries to deliver positive change,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“And there’s the nub. Whatever Labour says now about not working with others, the fact is they will have to change their tune if voters – as the polls suggest they will – deliver a parliament of minorities, with no one party having an overall majority.
“If that happens, the days of unresponsive majority government that brought us the poll tax fiasco from the Tories, and the Iraq war disaster from Labour, will be over. And that’s a good thing.”