Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron
The first minister of Scotland says the SNP will campaign to keep Scotland in the EU Reuters

The first minister of Scotland has accused the main Westminster parties of "dancing to the tune of Ukip" over the UK's membership of the European Union (EU).

Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish National Party (SNP) would stress the importance of Scotland's place in the economic and political union during the general election campaign.

"For too long, the Westminster establishment have been dancing to Ukip's tune - the Tories are running scared of Ukip, and Labour are too scared to challenge them," she said.

"But the SNP will put the importance of our place in Europe at the heart of our general election campaign - and a strong SNP will change the terms of the debate on Europe throughout the UK.

"Being forced out of the European Union and its single market by a UK exit referendum threatens a jobs disaster for Scotland - and one which people in Scotland can resist by voting SNP."

Sturgeon, who was appointed leader of the SNP in November, cited a piece of research which estimated that, in 2011, 336,000 jobs in Scotland were supported by exports to the EU – 13% of the total.

The comments come with 99 days to go before the general election in May.

David Cameron and the Conservatives have faced pressure from Ukip as the Eurosceptic party garners around 15% in the opinion polls.

The prime minister has promised that a Tory government would hold a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU in 2017.

But Farage has said the offering is not good enough and claimed Cameron has "kicked the issue into the long grass".

"The Cameron offering, frankly, isn't good enough in the sense that it's all been kicked into the long grass into 2017 following a renegotiation that looks highly improbable at any level," the Ukip leader told Sky News.

"I want our democracy back, I want control of our borders back, I want us to be able to negotiate our own deals on the world stage. To do all of that, I need a referendum. We need a referendum."

Elsewhere, new analysis of the opinion polls predicted Labour will win 282 seats after polling day, 44 short of a majority.

The data from Sky News also found the Conservatives will win 270 seats, the SNP 53, Liberal Democrats 20 and Ukip two.

The figures mean Miliband will fall short of a majority in the House of Commons after the general election and may be forced to create a coalition government with smaller parties to gain power.