Scottish Daily Mail

Miliband refuses to rule out a deal with Nationalis­ts

Labour’s UK leader ducks key election issue But his Scots MPs want him to say no to Nats Poll predicts SNP will win 56 of the 59 seats

- By Gareth Rose Scottish Political Reporter

ED Miliband is today set to duck the key question haunting his election campaign and fail to rule out a deal with the SNP.

The UK Labour leader will make his keynote speech to the Scottish party’s conference in Edinburgh amid growing calls from Scots MPs to kill off specul ation that his government would be propped up by a legion of Nationalis­ts.

With a devastatin­g poll predicting he would lose all but two MPs north of the Border, Labour colleagues were hoping he would kickstart their faltering campaign.

Instead, Mr Miliband will repeat the line that a vote for the SNP makes i t more l i kely David Cameron will return to No10 – which has so far failed to impress Scots voters.

Lord Ashcroft’s poll predicted the SNP would win 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland, which Mr Miliband will admit may be the difference between success and failure for Labour.

He will say: ‘The difference­s at this election are the widest they have been for a generation, but at the same time this election is set to be the closest for a generation. Every vote cast for another party, including the SNP, makes the prospect of a Tory government more l i kely because every one l ess Labour MP makes it more likely the Tories will be the largest party.

‘Scottish working families can’t afford to take that risk; Scottish young people can’t afford to take that risk; Scottish pensioners can’t afford to take that risk; Scotland’s health service cannot afford to take that risk.’

Scottish Labour l eader Jim Murphy is understood to be among those urging Mr Miliband to rule out a deal with the SNP,.

He will appeal to voters considerin­g supporting the Nationalis­ts, saying: ‘I know there are Labour supporters thinking of switching to be SNP voters this time.

‘I’ve met and listened to a lot of those undecided voters and I know that you are desperate for change. So are we. What I want to set out to you and the rest of Scotland is that Labour is that change. We will end Tory austerity.’

Scottish Labour MPs met Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander – who is tipped to lose his Paisley and Renfrewshi­re South seat – this week and urged him to tell Mr Miliband to rule out any deal.

In a newspaper article yesterday, former Tory prime minister Sir John Major said: ‘ A Labour-SNP alliance would be a lethal cocktail for the United Kingdom. I believe it is shameful that Labour have not already ruled out even the suggestion of such a partnershi­p.

‘The SNP would enter into any agreement with Labour with one overriding aim: to break up the United Kingdom.

‘None of this would be forgiven. Labour would be damned – and deservedly so. Labour knows the thuggish underbelly of the SNP – they faced it during the referendum campaign. I hope, for short-term political advantage, they will not forget the nature of the party, nor its separatist aims.’

Scottish Tory deputy leader Jack- son Carlaw said: ‘The Conservati­ve Party, Labour, and the Lib Dems stood together last year to keep our country together. Mr Miliband now needs to show the same resolve by ruling out any deal with a party which wants only to break our country up.’

Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon seemed to indicate the SNP might agree to a deal with Labour even if the renewal of Trident nuclear submarines on the Clyde was to go ahead, although her MPs would not vote for it.

But that was quickly clarified in a statement: ‘The SNP is clear that we will never vote for the renewal of Trident – and the point Nicola Sturgeon made is that we would not enter any agreement at Westminste­r unless it included stopping another generation of nuclear weapons on the Clyde.’

Alex Salmond also made clear that Trident’s renewal would be a red line for the SNP.

Speaking at the official launch of his election campaign in Gordon, he said: ‘ We cannot give any support to the Tories. However, support for any other administra­tion comes with the condition of progress for Scotland.

‘ Progress to fully deliver the promises on real powers that were made to the Scottish people during the referendum; progress to signal an end to austerity economics and finally, progress in stopping the waste of countless billions on new nuclear weapons.’

‘We will end Tory

austerity’ ‘We will never vote for Trident’

 ??  ?? Brothers in arms: The UK Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Scottish party chief Jim Murphy share a joke
Brothers in arms: The UK Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Scottish party chief Jim Murphy share a joke

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