Exclusive Alex Salmond interview: ‘Best to form a government as quickly as possible after the election’


Any post-election deal should be agreed quickly to ensure stability, Salmond tells CommonSpace

ANY DEALS between political parties after the General Election should take place as quickly as possible to ensure a stable government, according to former first minister Alex Salmond.

Speaking to CommonSpace about whether civil servants and financial markets would welcome a clear and decisive deal after the election, Salmond explained that it made political sense to agree a programme for progress in the week after the election.

Salmond said: “What matters in that situation [a hung parliament] is that you have a clear route forward. Do I think it’s a good idea to draw out negotiation for two weeks, three weeks, four weeks? No. I think you’re far better to get it done as quickly as you can. That’s not because of markets that’s because you want a government in to set a direction.

“That’s what we did in 2007 in the Scottish Parliament.”

Salmond pointed out that on current polling a deal between Labour and the SNP may be the only way for a secure majority to be found in the House of Commons. However, he added that there remained a long way to go till election day.

Former permanent secretaries Gus O’Donnell and Lord Turnbull have previously said that post-election stability is required to maintain financial confidence.

“Right now it’s very difficult to see a stable coalition of the right. Tories, Liberals, Ulster Unionists, Ukip – sounds like a nightmare,” Salmond added.

Salmond also welcomed the suggestion that the SNP could work with MPs on the left of the Labour party.

John McDonnell MP said that 30-40 Labour members of parliament would rebel against Ed Miliband if there was any plan to continue austerity.

Salmond said: “I hold John McDonnell in high regard, and in certain aspects I agree with John,” adding that Miliband’s position on cuts and trident “wouldn’t hold in that post-election atmosphere”.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act, according to Salmond, also strengthens the SNP’s negotiating position as it means any fresh election would require the support of at least a majority of MPs.

He also had strong words for Labour in Scotland’s communications adviser John McTernan, who worked with Labour in 2011 and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard: “He can complete a hat-trick. He failed in 2011 in Scotland. He failed in Australia. And now he can come back to Scotland & fail again. Great.”

You can listen to the General Election section of CommonSpace’s interview with Alex Salmond from 30:55 in the above video.

Picture courtesy of CommonSpace and Surian Soosay