Pete Wishart hints at Yes alliance for General Election
Meanwhile MP refuses to rule out Westminster coalition with Labour
The SNP should seriously consider the idea of forming a Yes alliance with other pro-independence parties at next year’s general election, according to one of the party's MPs.
Two of the three candidates for SNP deputy leader – Stewart Hosie and Angela Constance – have advocated the party doing a deal with the Greens not to compete for Westminster seats, though it is still unclear about how such an alliance would work in practice. Speaking to Holyrood, Pete Wishart said he was sympathetic to the idea.
He said: “I think that is something the party needs to properly debate and I know two of our candidates for deputy leader have advocated that – it is something I would be sympathetic to. First Past the Post is a cruel mistress when it comes to these type of issues and it doesn’t do anyone any favours to split a maximum vote in terms of the agenda we have built up. It is something I would be open to and when it has been mentioned in hustings it has found quite a bit of support.”
Wishart also followed Nicola Sturgeon in suggesting that the SNP would be open to forming a coalition with Labour in the event of a hung parliament – saying that he would be willing to work with any party except the Conservatives or UKIP.
He said: “People forget that we offered to help make up the numbers at the last general election. When there was the possibility of a hung parliament, there were all sorts of negotiations going on and we offered to work to keep the Tories out. It is something we considered the last time around and if our numbers could help protect Scotland from further incursions from something like a Conservative UKIP coalition – that is something we would always have to consider. The one thing we would not do is that have a coalition with the Conservatives but everything else is up for negotiation.”
Meanwhile SNP business convener Derek Mackay suggested that the General Election comes during a time of upheaval in British politics.
He said: “The Westminster election is the next big test. You have to put opinion polls into perspective but they suggest that the seismic shift in Scottish politics is continuing, not just because of those who have joined political parties but also how people are intending to vote.”
“Westminster elections are traditionally difficult for the SNP – to use a football analogy, it is not a home game for us. The gravitational pull in terms of media coverage is taken to London where we suffer a disadvantage. But I think we are most definitely on the political radar – even in UK wide coverage – because of the surge in membership, the vow, and opinion polls. The polls are encouraging but I wouldn’t be backing the train ticket to London on the back of them.”
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