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by Louise Wilson
24 May 2024
Keir Starmer: ‘Absolutely no deal’ with the SNP

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Keir Starmer: ‘Absolutely no deal’ with the SNP

Labour leader Keir Starmer has categorically ruled out any deal with the SNP after the general election.

Speaking from the launch of Scottish Labour’s campaign in Glasgow, Starmer said he would not do a deal in “any circumstances” with the nationalists.

He said: “Absolutely no deal with the SNP, obviously not going into the election, no deal the other side of the election – under any circumstances.

“And that’s not just a question of mathematics. That is because there is no way an incoming Labour government could ever work in any way with the SNP, whose only ambition it to break up the United Kingdom.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the next UK general election would take place on 4 July earlier this week, despite his party being a considerable distance behind Labour in the polls.

But the challenge in Scotland is different for Starmer’s party, whose key battlegrounds are against the SNP not the Tories.

Alongside Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Starmer told supporters and activists that Scotland was “central to the mission of the next Labour government”.

And taking aim at both the Conservative government and SNP government, he said both had presided over “chaos and division” and neither party had put the national interest first.

He refused to be drawn on how many number of MPs he would consider a success in Scotland. The party currently has two seats, one of which was won in the Rutherglen by-election last year.

But he added that winning seats in Scotland was “personal” because he wanted to be prime minister for “the whole of the United Kingdom”.

The pair were also asked about what change the UK Labour government could have on the lives of Scots given many public services are devolved.

Sarwar said: “Everything that needs changed in Scotland doesn’t happen by just getting rid of the Tory government, but it helps massively.

“We’ve got to deliver change in Westminster and Holyrood. This is a Westminster election, it’s our chance to get rid of the Tories and we can’t miss that opportunity for Scotland to play its full part.

“We will make clear in the coming days what our key pledges are here in Scotland, but we’ve also been through some of them already. We’ve just talked about GB Energy, we’ve talked about more money for example in the NHS and how that cuts NHS waiting lists.

“But we will  demonstrate how economic stability across the UK, resetting devolution and making government work for every part of our country will help.”

The SNP launched its own general election campaign on Thursday, with leader John Swinney arguing in favour of independence because the “only guaranteed outcome of a Labour Government is the Tory government that will follow it”.

Meanwhile Sunak was also north of the border on Thursday with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross. The prime minister attacked the SNP’s “obsession” with independence and insisted his “track record shows that I’m delivering for people in Scotland”.

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