Starmer expected to rule out Labour ever making electoral deal with SNP

Katie Neame

Keir Starmer is expected to pledge that his Labour Party will never do a deal with the SNP amid reports that the Conservatives plan to revisit their ‘coalition of chaos’ attack line at the next general election.

The Guardian reported today that Starmer is likely to offer a procedural guarantee against any deal, including a motion to party conference later this year. Sources said such an approach would show Labour members were in favour of the strategy.

The Labour leader has previously rejected the idea of a coalition agreement with the Scottish nationalists. He declared in April this year that there would be “no coalition between Labour and the SNP” at the local or national level.

He added: “Let me be absolutely clear, no deal going into the general election – I say that now, possibly a year or two out from the general election – and no deal on the other side of the general election.

“I could not be clearer about this and I hope that nobody has missed my very clear message on this – no deal into a general election, no deal out of a general election, full stop.”

According to The Guardian, however, the Labour leader is expected to double down on his vow not to strike a deal with the nationalists or to grant a second independence referendum as part of his summer campaign.

Senior figures from Labour’s 2015 election campaign have reportedly called on Starmer to reject Conservative claims that Labour would enter into a coalition with the SNP. During the 2015 campaign, the Tories repeatedly claimed that then Labour leader Ed Miliband would be dependent on the nationalists to win.

Ian Murray said the Tories want to use a “fake scaremongering campaign” about a potential Labour/SNP deal again “because they have a dead duck leader and nothing to offer the people of this country”.

Writing in the Daily Mail on Wednesday, former Tory cabinet minister Matt Hancock said: “Almost the only viable alternative to a Conservative government is a coalition between Sir Keir and Nicola Sturgeon’s separatist SNP … the risk of a grubby coalition deal that sells the union down the river.”

In an interview earlier this year, Boris Johnson said: “Do you want a sensible ‘One Nation’ Conservative Party? … Or do you want Labour propped up by the SNP? We’re going back to that choice.”

Anas Sarwar will give a speech to the Fabian Society on Monday in which he is expected to take the same line as Starmer, a continuation of the Scottish Labour leader’s stance at the local elections where he blocked Labour coalitions.

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