The leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, “categorically” ruled out any coalition with the Labour Party ahead of next week’s general election in an interview with ITV’s Robert Peston. It comes as Ms Sturgeon set out the preconditions on which Labour would have to accept should they gain the support of the SNP to secure a minority government.
The stance from both leaders has hitherto been murky - with Mr Corbyn and Ms Sturgeon both setting out conflicting claims.
Attempting to clear the waters, Peston asked Ms Sturgeon: “We’re in a remarkable period where if you look at the polls, in the three percent margin of error, we could be looking next Thursday at something that’s quite close to a landslide for Boris Johnson.
“Or, we could be looking at a government that would see Jeremy Corbyn probably as Prime Minister in Downing Street.
“Can I just ask you, very, very explicitly, because I’m not sure you have said this: Are you saying categorically, that although you could support a Labour Government by perhaps a confidence and supply agreement, the kind of thing the DUP arranged with the Tories, you categorically are ruling out a formal coalition?
Ms Sturgeon replied: “Yes.”
A deafening silence ensued, with Peston seemingly dumbstruck and at a loss as to what to say.
He said: “So, that’s a straightforward yes?”
Ms Sturgeon laughed, and said: “I know that’s probably taken you by surprise that a politician has answered a question so bluntly.
“But, yes, the SNP will not go into a formal coalition, but we want to lock Boris Johnson out of Downing Street if we possibly can.
“I hope the SNP can actually play a big part in that because the SNP are the main challengers in every Tory held seat in Scotland.
“We would look to have some sort of progressive alliance with other parties in order to do that if the Parliamentary arithmetic allows it.
“But, I don’t favour formal coalitions.”
Ms Sturgeon went on to explain that although the SNP and Labour agree on several issues, they equally disagree on several others that wouldn’t grant their propping up a minority Government.
She said a logical argument could be made to make sense of an SNP-Labour coalition, but that she personally didn’t feel as though a formal coalition was the right thing to do.
This is because Ms Sturgeon wants the SNP to “maximise” its potential to implement Scotland-focused policies that will advance the nation and better its position as an independent state.
Although, she admitted that her party, Labour, as well as others all have the common goal of preventing Boris Johnson from re-entering Downing Street.
Mr Corbyn has said Labour was “not doing pacts, not doing deals” if it failed to win a majority in the election rejecting previous claims by Ms Sturgeon that he had privately agreed to support a second Scottish independence referendum in exchange for SNP support.
He said: “I’m not in favour of it at all because I think the priorities for Scotland are in ending poverty, inequality and injustice, and independence would bring with it an economic problem for Scotland.”
He challenged Ms Sturgeon to support a minority Labour government after dismissing her calls for a progressive alliance to overcome the Tories in Westminster.
Mr Corbyn warned that if there was no clear majority, the SNP would have the option to back a Labour budget and legislative programme.
He said: “It’s for the SNP to choose: If the SNP wants to put the Tories back in office and have the numbers to do it after the election – their choice.
“Do they really want to impose on the people of Scotland more years of austerity, more poor children, more homeless people?
“More housing shortage? More lack of investment? Or are they going to support a Labour government which invests for the future of Scotland? It’s their choice.”