NICOLA Sturgeon has hit back at suggestions the Prime Minister could stay on until the autumn as she demanded he step down today.

Boris Johnson is expected to step down, with No 10 confirming he will make a statement on Thursday. 

The First Minister welcomed the news but said suggestions he could last until later in the year as a “caretaker” were “far from ideal”.

In a thread of tweets, Sturgeon wrote: “There will be a widespread sense of relief that the chaos of the last few days (indeed months) will come to an end, though notion of Boris Johnson staying on as PM until autumn seems far from ideal, and surely not sustainable?

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“Boris Johnson was always manifestly unfit to be PM and the Tories should never have elected him leader or sustained him in office for as long as they have. But the problems run much deeper than one individual. The Westminster system is broken.”

But she added: “My differences with Boris Johnson are many and profound. But leadership is difficult and brings with it many stresses and strains, and so on a personal level I wish him and his family well.”

In what could be one of his last acts in power, Johnson rejected Sturgeon’s request for a Section 30 order yesterday.

The First Minister added: “For [Scotland], the democratic deficit inherent in Westminster government doesn’t get fixed with a change of PM.

“None of the alternative Tory PMs would ever be elected in Scotland. And in policy terms, it is hard to see what real difference hard Brexit supporting Labour offers.

“Independence only happens if a majority living in Scotland choose it - but there is no doubt it offers the real and permanent alternative to Westminster, and the opportunity to fulfil our potential at home and play our part as a good global citizen. It’s time for that choice.”

Speaking to the BBC shortly afterwards, Sturgeon said: “The chaos and lack of integrity that has characterised Boris Johnson’s premiership has in the last few days descended into complete and utter farce.

“All at a time when people in every part of the UK are really struggling with very real challenges.”

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She added: “It is quite incredible to suggest that he would remain as Prime Minister three to four months.

“The sooner he is out of Number 10 - and I think that needs to be today - the better.”

On Wednesday, the SNP welcomed calls for a General Election, which is less likely given the Prime Minister’s expected resignation.

In a statement to the media, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford welcomed Johnson’s resignation but said it “changes very little” for Scotland.

He added: “We’re still controlled by a Westminster system that saw fit to make him Prime Minister.

"Whoever replaces him, Scotland will still be saddled with a Tory government we didn't vote for imposing Brexit, austerity cuts and damaging policies against Scotland's will.

"And with all the Westminster parties fully signed up to a hard Brexit, it is clear a change of government alone cannot provide the real change that Scotland needs.

"The only way to escape the damage of Westminster control is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to regain our place in Europe and build a fair and prosperous future.

"Whoever takes over from Boris Johnson must respect the democratic mandate Scotland has to hold an independence referendum so we can escape Westminster control for good."

Labour leader Keir Starmer has said the Prime Minister "cannot cling on" to power, demanding Johnson goes "completely". 

He has threatened to bring a Commons vote of no-confidence against the Government in the event Johnson did not step down today.