Pete Wishart MP responds to open letter on CommonSpace from Compass chairman Neal Lawson calling for the SNP and Labour to join forces
THE Labour party should work with the SNP on a shared agenda aimed of scrapping Trident and reforming the UK voting system, according to SNP MP Pete Wishart.
Writing for CommonSpace in response to an open letter from UK think-tank Compass's chairman Neal Lawson, which called for the formation of a progressive leftwing alliance between Labour and the SNP, Wishart pointed out that previous attempts by the SNP to work constructively with Labour were rebuffed. However, the SNP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons left the door open for an improved relationship between the two groups.
He said: "You will recall when you, I, Jonathon Edwards and Caroline Lucas got round the table in Caroline’s office to see what could be secured in advance of last year’s general election. Then, we were expecting a hung parliament and I think we were all excited about the possibilities that this may have brought. We discussed all manners of possible arrangements and we held out great hopes that parties of the left could work constructively together.
“You mention PR and Trident. How about maybe seeing what we could do in way of joint work round those issues, perhaps adding ridding our nation of the circus that’s the House of Lords, too?” Pete Wishart MP
"You of course know only too well what happened next. Instead of embracing any sort of possible working arrangement with the SNP, the Labour party did all they could to distance themselves from us.
"In trying to achieve this, Labour managed to tie themselves into all sorts of almost contradictory contorted knots. They inconceivably allowed any possible working Lab/SNP 'arrangement' to be defined by the Tories, who took full advantage of Labour’s shambolic predicament."
However, he went on: "Let’s try and end this on a positive. You mention PR and Trident. How about maybe seeing what we could do in way of joint work round those issues, perhaps adding ridding our nation of the circus that’s the House of Lords, too?
"Maybe issue by issue we can build up confidence in a relationship and get what we all want – rid of this Tory Government."
Wishart's comments underline previous statements made by SNP MPs at Westminster, most notably by Mhairi Black MP, who used her maiden speech in the House of Commons to make the case for a progressive relationship between the SNP and Labour at Westminster.
“Yes, we will have political differences,” Black said. “Yes, in other parliaments we may be opposing parties. But within this chamber, we are not. As much as I might wish it, the SNP is not the sole opposition to this Government, but nor is the Labour Party. It is together with all of the parties on these benches that we must form an opposition.
“So I reach out a genuine hand of friendship, which I can only hope will be taken. Let us come together. Let us be that opposition. Let us be that signpost of a better society.”
Picture courtesy of Policy Exchange
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