Alex Salmond would have tried to join forces with Labour to stop snap general election
EXCLUSIVE - Former FM tells Holyrood: “There’s absolutely nothing in Theresa May’s nature that could have suggested she was going to steer her airplane into the sea for no apparent reason"
Alex Salmond - image credit: Paul Heartfield
Alex Salmond would have tried to join forces with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in a bid to stop the snap general election taking place if he had been present in Westminster on the day of the vote.
With Salmond in hospital undergoing surgery as Theresa May announced the snap general election in May, the former FM used an exclusive interview with Holyrood to reveal how he would have tried to build an alliance with Labour to stop the Commons voting in favour of a snap poll.
Salmond also defended Nicola Sturgeon’s approach to the campaign, saying the timing of the election was “completely wrong” for the SNP, but adding: “Nicola cannot be blamed for not seeing that coming”.
The SNP lost 21 seats in the general election in June, including Salmond’s former Gordon constituency, with senior figures in the party questioning the way it approached the campaign.
But speaking to Holyrood editor Mandy Rhodes, Salmond defended the SNP’s response to the snap election, warning that “it is difficult sometimes to account for the irrationality of one of your opponents”.
He told Holyrood: “If I had been in London I would have tried to persuade Jeremy Corbyn not to accept the Government motion to dissolve the Parliament which needed two thirds of the entire House. Instead I would have urged him to wait until after the DPP determination on Thanet expenses and then laid down a motion of no confidence which we would have supported. This would have meant either no election or one in the worst possible circumstances for the Tories.”
Salmond said: “Nicola would never have pulled the trigger on the second referendum if it had been clear that there was an election to come, it was done on the basis that the election would be in two or three years’ time, which was the reasonable expectation that everybody had.”
He added: “There’s absolutely nothing in Theresa May’s nature that could have suggested she was going to steer her airplane into the sea for no apparent reason, apart from having had some vision in the Welsh hillside. Nicola cannot be blamed for not seeing that coming. None of us did.”
But Salmond rejected criticism of the party’s election campaign.
“The reason I was so keen not to have the election was that I knew the timing, from an SNP point of view, was completely wrong. That’s nobody’s fault, particularly because I don’t think Nicola could be at all expected to anticipate that Theresa May was going to turn into an election kamikaze pilot. There’s absolutely nothing in Theresa May’s nature that could have suggested she was going to steer her airplane into the sea for no apparent reason, apart from having had some vision in the Welsh hillside. Nicola cannot be blamed for not seeing that coming. None of us did.”
He added: “It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just the timing was wrong because that’s a policy [the referendum] that requires two things; time to explain and it requires events to justify it. Even now would be a better time because now we know Brexit is, in the words of an article in the Financial Times, going to be one of three things: it’s either going to be an abject humiliation, a huge humiliation or just a humiliation for the UK. It’s going to be one of these three, ranging from abject to just normal humiliation, but somewhere in that range.”
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