Keir Starmer: There is no basis for an alliance with the SNP
Keir Starmer has insisted there "isn't a basis for an alliance" with the SNP after the next general election due to constitutional differences.
Speaking at Iain Dale's All Talk series at the Edinburgh Fringe on Friday afternoon, the Labour leader said changing the status quo would be easier within the UK.
He said he understood why many Scots were dissatisfied with the current situation, because they felt they were "shackled to this Tory government".
But he added: "I believe in change, but I don't believe in breaking up the United Kingdom to bring about that change."
On the prospect of creating a coalition with the SNP after the next election if Labour did not win a majority, Starmer said: "We are not doing a deal with the SNP into or out of the next general election."
And he warned the SNP that "ushering in a Tory government after 12 years will not go down well" if they did not back a Labour government.
Ahead of the event, the SNP said Starmer must "respect Scotland's right" to have a second referendum on Scottish independence.
SNP MSP Paul McLennan said: "If Starmer wants to salvage a shred of integrity then it's time for him to abandon Labour's alliance with the Tories and respect Scotland's right to have a say over its future."
The Labour leader was also asked whether he would rather face Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss, to which he said it did not matter as neither would help people.
On the suggestion an election could be earlier than the end of 2024, Starmer said: "Bring it on - the sooner the better."
He was highly critical of the lack of response to the cost of living crisis.
Saying it had been 12 years in the making, Starmer called for more support for people struggling to pay their bills via a windfall tax.
He also said there needed to be more medium and long term solutions, like better insulating homes, adding: "You cannot crisis manage forever, we have got to thing about the medium and long term."
He labelled the Conservative's policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as "completely wrong and immoral", confirming Labour would not pursue such a policy.
But he voiced support for the UK government's response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. He said: "Russia cannot be allowed to succeed and we have to stand with the Ukrainians."