Clegg rules out agreement with Scottish nationalists in UK vote
UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats and potential kingmaker in next month’s general election on Saturday ruled out a coalition with the center-left Labour Party if it required support from Scottish nationalists.
“I totally rule out any arrangements with the Scottish National Party (SNP) because there is no meeting point for me with one party that basically wants to pull our country to bits,” he was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.
With neither the center-right Conservative Party, who led the last coalition with the Lib Dems as junior partners, nor the Labour Party looking likely to achieve an outright victory on May 7, all parties are working on their strategies for the post-election power struggle.
One of the scenarios would see Ed Miliband’s Labour seeking the support of Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, which is expected to make huge gains at Labour’s expense north of the border, but Miliband has ruled out a formal coalition. The SNP favors Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.
Clegg told the Financial Times that he “would never recommend to the Liberal Democrats that we help establish a government which is basically on a life-support system, where (influential former SNP leader) Alex Salmond could pull the plug any time he wants. No, no, no.”
The comments will boost Prime Minister David Cameron, who is likely to need Lib Dem backing if he is to form a government, although Clegg’s party has sunk in the polls since the last election after teaming up with the Conservatives.
Polls suggest the SNP will win between 40 and 50 of the 59 seats of parliamentary seats in Scotland, where Labour had 41 MPs last term. Scotland is one of four nations in the United Kingdom. The other three are England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The May 7 general election will see 650 seats up for grabs nationwide.