Labour insider: “David Cameron for his own electoral purposes is trying to suggest Scottish MPs should have no vote at Westminster and that is an extraordinary position for a Unionist politician to adopt.”
THE Labour party is likely to bow to pressure and rule out a coalition with the SNP, but say that excluding any working relationship with the Scottish nationalists would be impossible without questioning the legitimacy of Scottish MPs at Westminster, according to reports in the Guardian.
Polls show the SNP is on course to wipe out the vast majority of Labour’s MPs in Scotland, and could hold the balance of power after the General Election if Labour wins the most number of seats but not enough to govern alone.
Ed Miliband, Labour leader, has come under intense pressure from the Conservatives to rule out any deal with the Scottish nationalists, as Tories believe the line of attack plays well in key marginal constituencies.
Miliband has so far refused to engage in discussion around post-election predictions, and Ed Balls, shadow chancellor, refused to rule out a coalition deal with the SNP on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, saying all discussion of such things was “nonsense”.
However, party insiders have told the Guardian that preparations are underway to rule out any formal coalition with Nicola Sturgeon’s party, but believe it would be “ridiculous” to rule out any relationship after the 2015 General Election.
“David Cameron for his own electoral purposes is trying to suggest Scottish MPs should have no vote at Westminster and that is an extraordinary position for a Unionist politician to adopt,” a Labour source said.
A ‘supply and demand’ arrangement between Labour and the SNP would work by the Scottish nationalists agreeing to vote for Miliband’s budgets, without becoming part of the government itself. In return for the SNP’s votes, the party would likely have ‘red line’ issues that Labour would need to agree to, including no more austerity and no trident renewal.
For its part, Alex Salmond, former SNP leader and candidate in the forthcoming General Election, has said it would be “unlikely” that the SNP would enter a coalition with Labour, but said an agreement on a “vote by vote basis” would be plausible.
Jim Murphy’s new leadership of Labour in Scotland has failed to halt the slide away from the party after last year’s referendum, and Scottish Labour MPs believe ruling out any coalition with the SNP is now necessary to boost their chances.
“It needs to be crystal clear that if you vote for the SNP you are putting the Tories into power at Westminster,” One Labour MP told the Guardian.
Sturgeon is set to make a speech in London today (click here to read more), outlining how the SNP could help bring about a “positive change” across the UK with influence at Westminster.
Picture courtesy of the Department of Energy and Climate Change