UK opposition leader narrows options on SNP election deal

26th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

British opposition leader Ed Miliband appeared to go a step further Sunday in ruling out a deal with the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) if he fails to win next month's election outright.

"I'm not doing deals with the Scottish National Party... it's not happening. I'm working for a majority Labour government," Miliband said in a BBC interview.

Miliband leads the centre-left Labour party which is locked at level pegging in opinion polls with Prime Minister David Cameron's centre-right Conservatives before May 7's vote.

This indicates that neither of the two main parties will win outright and will have to team up with one or more smaller parties to form a coalition or minority government.

Debate in the campaign has increasingly focused on what parties and policies this would involve.

Miliband's comments come as the Conservatives, facing accusations they have fought a negative and insufficiently passionate campaign, increasingly emphasise what they describe as the dangers of an alliance between Labour and the SNP.

The Tories claim the SNP would pull Labour further to the left and are running a poster campaign depicting Miliband as the puppet of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, a prospect they say would put the unity of the United Kingdom at risk.

Home Secretary Theresa May warned in an interview in the Mail on Sunday newspaper that a minority Labour government propped up by the SNP could prompt the "biggest constitutional crisis since the abdication" of King Edward VIII in 1936.

Sturgeon, whose party is expected to win most of Scotland's House of Commons seats amid surging support after last year's rejected independence referendum, wants to do a post-election deal with Labour.

Miliband on Sunday also appeared to rule out a "confidence and supply" agreement -- a deal in which a smaller party supports a minority government in House of Commons confidence motions and votes on government spending.

The Labour leader has already said he would not enter a formal coalition with the SNP.

That leaves the door open for a more informal vote-by-vote arrangement where the SNP could support Labour on an ad hoc basis in return for policy concessions.

Meanwhile, Cameron told Sky News Sunday: "If you want a non-socialist alternative to the nationalists who want to break up the union (Britain), only the Conservatives can provide that."

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© 2015 AFP

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