General Election 2015: Ed Balls and George Osborne repeatedly refuse to rule out deals with Ukip and SNP

On eight occasions Mr Balls sidestepped questions over whether a minority Labour government would look to the SNP

Nigel Morris
Sunday 15 March 2015 12:33 GMT
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Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls appears on The Andrew Marr Show on March 15, 2015
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls appears on The Andrew Marr Show on March 15, 2015 (Jeff Overs/BBC via Getty Images)

Ed Balls and Chancellor George Osborne today repeatedly refused to rule out deals with minor parties if the general election produces a hung parliament.

On eight occasions Mr Balls, the shadow Chancellor, sidestepped questions over whether a minority Labour government would look to the Scottish National Party to sustain it in power.

Later during BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Osborne dodged questions over whether the Conservatives would be prepared to strike a deal with Ukip if the May 7 election result is indecisive.

Asked to rule out a Labour-SNP deal, Mr Balls described the prospect as “nonsense” and said it was “not part of our plans”. He added: “I’m not going to get involved in speculation about post-election deals. We are fighting for a majority.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne appears on The Andrew Marr Show on March 15, 2015 (Jeff Overs/BBC via Getty Images)

Polls suggest that SNP could win up to 50 of the 59 Scottish parliamentary seats at the election, including the vast majority of Labour’s seats north of the border. A performance on that scale could make them the third largest Westminster party after the election and in a position to act as “kingmakers”.

Challenged about a Tory-Ukip deal, Mr Osborne also said the idea was “nonsense” and insisted the Conservatives were fighting for an overall majority.

The Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, has said his party would support the Tories after May 7 if they stage a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union by the end of this year.

Mr Osborne said: “Nigel Farage, and indeed Ed Balls, are trying to muddy the waters, but it’s a fundamentally different situation.

“Nigel Farage is not going to win seats in the House of Commons, and even on his own boasts he's only going to win a small handful. The SNP are likely to win dozens of seats because of the collapse of the Labour party,” he said.

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