Scottish Labour leader expects backing from other parties without any pacts

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has said he would expect other parties including the SNP to back them in Westminster in a bid to lock out the Tories – without any electoral pacts.

He insisted there would be no coalition between the two parties in the case of a hung Parliament following an accusation levelled by the Prime Minister during a debate with Jeremy Corbyn last week.

Mr Leonard told the PA news agency it would be for the individual parties to back a Labour Queen’s Speech without expectation of concessions.

Sturgeon’s St Andrew’s Day speech
Sturgeon’s St Andrew’s Day speech

He said the SNP would “have to explain themselves to the people of Scotland” if they did not support a prospective Labour Government.

Previously, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Westminster leader Ian Blackford have said the Labour Party should not “bother picking up the phone” if they do not agree to another Scottish independence referendum.

The party’s manifesto launch last week was also used as a vehicle for the delivery of two other “red lines” – the scrapping of Trident and an increase of spending on the NHS in Scotland.

📢 @NicolaSturgeon: "In any post-election talks the SNP will also demand that Scotland’s NHS be protected from trade deals.

We will introduce an NHS Protection Bill.

This will guarantee that trade deals will not open up the NHS to profit-driven exploitation." #VoteSNP#GE2019

— The SNP (@theSNP) November 27, 2019

Mr Leonard told PA: “We’ve been absolutely clear that there’s no place for any deal, any coalition agreement or any electoral pact.

“We are aiming to secure the election of a majority Labour Government.

“Ten days out from the election, that remains our goal. I see no reason why we can’t achieve that.”

He added: “If we were to be in a situation where there was a minority Labour Government that was dependent on support from other parties to get through our policy programme which would be contained in a Queen’s Speech, we would expect those other parties to vote for it.

“In the case of the SNP, I would expect them to vote for a Labour Government Queen’s Speech which contained measures like a £2 billion additional investment in the NHS in Scotland, a £10 minimum wage and the scrapping of Universal Credit and its replacement with a more dignified system.

“I would have thought they would support that but if they chose not to support that they would have to answer to the people of Scotland why they had not supported that and why they have potentially brought down a Labour Government.”

Mr Leonard said his party was standing on a “transformative” manifesto, which would have an effect for generations and other parties should not make bids to change that.