Labour leader says party would ‘learn from SNP’ and run minority government

Labour leader says party would ‘learn from SNP’ and run minority government

Scottish Labour would favour a minority administration at Holyrood as opposed to a coalition, the party’s leader has said.

Anas Sarwar said Labour would “learn something from the SNP”, who ran a minority government between 2007 and 2011, before winning a majority at Holyrood in the next election.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Sarwar said when he took over the role from Richard Leonard in 2021 – after years of electoral decline in Scotland – “nobody asked me what would happen in terms of a Labour prime minister and nobody even thought we could have a Labour first minister”.

The Glasgow MSP’s comments come just a day after a YouGov survey of 1,239 Scots showed Labour on 21% in the constituency and regional votes, compared with 29% and 24% respectively for the SNP.

He added: “I think we can actually learn something from the SNP.

“The SNP were quite confident going for a minority administration in the parliament – they then went on to win a majority at the subsequent election.

“My principle would always be to seek to form a minority Labour administration if we get the honour of doing that.”

But he conceded: “We are a million miles away from doing that now, we’ve got lots of hard work to do, we’ve got lots of support to build, we’ve got to set out the ideas for the future – that’s what I’m focused on.”

Mr Sarwar’s speech to his party’s conference in Edinburgh made overt entreaties to SNP and Tory voters when he addressed party delegates on Friday in a push the party said was the start of the campaign for the next general election and the 2026 Holyrood election.

The leader told PA the shock resignation of Nicola Sturgeon this week presented a “big opportunity” for his party in 2026, but added: “We have got to be worthy of people’s support – we have got to build the confidence and trust of the Scottish people.

“Our party has changed, we now have to demonstrate how we would change the country if we had the pleasure to win those elections.”