Ed Miliband refuses to rule out a coalition deal with SNP

But SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon accuses Labour and the Tories of being "joined at the hip"

Andrew Grice
Thursday 29 January 2015 19:30
Comments
Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader, visit Queenslie Training
Centre in Glasgow yesterday
Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader, visit Queenslie Training Centre in Glasgow yesterday

Ed Miliband has refused to rule out Labour striking a post-election deal with the Scottish National Party if there were another hung parliament after the May general election.

During a visit to Glasgow, the Labour leader said his party did not want or need a deal with the SNP. He insisted: “I have only one focus, which is a majority Labour government. That is what I think the country needs and that’s what all my focus and all my energy is on.”

He promised that Labour would have a separate Scottish manifesto north of the border.

Mr Miliband told the Scottish people the only way to remove David Cameron from Downing Street was to vote Labour. He said: "If you want change and you want this Tory government out, the only way to make that happen is to vote Labour. A vote for any other party is a risk you don't see the end of a Tory government.”

Although Labour officials insist the party would never seek a deal with the SNP, Mr Miliband appeared to adopt a softer line than Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor. When he was asked the same question this week, Mr Balls replied: “No. And I don’t think anybody is suggesting any suggestion of a deal with the SNP at all.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has ruled out a deal with the Conservatives but suggested that her party could support a minority Labour government in Commons votes. With the SNP threatening many of Labour’s 41 Scottish seats, the Nationalists could hold the balance of power at Westminster after the May election.

The Conservatives seized on the Labour leader’s remarks. A Tory source said: “Ed Miliband is desperate - he’ll jump into bed with anyone.”

Mr Miliband said the case for Labour’s mansion tax on homes worth more than £2m was growing “stronger and stronger.” He endorsed the pledge by Jim Murphy, Labour’s new leader in Scotland, to use the proceeds to fund 1,000 nurses in Scotland. This has caused controversy in London, where most of the mansion tax revenue would be raised.

Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out a deal with the Conservatives

The Labour leader said: “Some of the powerful, the super rich and the famous are going to protest a lot more. But this week a house in London went on the market for £300m.”

Mr Miliband promised that a Home Rule Bill would be put before Parliament within 100 days if he becomes the next prime minister to give Scotland the powers promised it on jobs, welfare and tax. Labour would immediately devolve the Work Programme for the jobless.

“Just as in 1997, devolution will be one of the first things on our agenda for the next Labour government,” he said.

The SNP dismissed the idea that the Bill would amount to home rule as "laughable”, saying that 70 per cent of taxation and 85 per cent of welfare spending would remain under Westminster’s control. "Trying to claim that this is home rule could be reported under the Trade Descriptions Act for being completely untrue,” said Stewart Hosie, the SNP’s deputy leader.

In a party political broadcast tonight, Ms Sturgeon accused Labour and the Tories of being "joined at the hip". She said: "The fact is only the SNP will force Westminster to listen to the people of Scotland.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in