General Election 2015: Ed Miliband stops short of ruling out post-electoral deal with SNP

 
Charlotte Henry
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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said a formal coalition had never been the SNP’s preference
Labour leader Ed Miliband has declined to rule out doing a deal with the Scottish National party (SNP) to secure the keys to Downing Street.

However, he said there would be no formal coalition between the two parties. Speaking yesterday, Miliband said: “Labour will not go into coalition government with the SNP. There will be no SNP ministers in any government I lead.”

His comments echo those of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has previously ruled out the possibility of her party entering into a Westminster coalition with Labour.

“This was a lot of hype to rule out something no one was proposing,” Sturgeon responded. “Mr Miliband’s statement is absolutely fine from our point of view, because formal coalition with seats in the UK government has never been our preference anyway.”

Neither leader has completely rejected the possibility of SNP MPs supporting a Labour government as part of a looser arrangement.

Indeed, Sturgeon flagged up the different options still available, commenting: “The other arrangements which have not been ruled out – such as confidence and supply, and voting on an issue-by-issue basis – are the options we believe are best for Scot­land anyway.”

“I think the public would take a pretty dim view if the SNP brought down a Labour government,” added Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy.

A Conservative Party spokesman commenting on Miliband’s announcement said: “This changes nothing. Ed Miliband will not rule out a deal with the SNP because he knows it’s impossible to become Prime Minister without being carried into Downing Street in Alex Salmond’s pocket”.

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