Sarwar: Labour will not need coalition as we will win outright majority
Anas Sarwar was confident of a Labour majority ahead of the next general election as he brushed off claims of a coalition U-turn from the SNP’s Westminster leader.
The Scottish Labour leader told the PA news agency that the English local election results, which saw significant gains for the party, highlighted the demand for change across the UK.
But initial projections from the local government results have suggested Labour may not win enough seats to gain a majority.
And Mr Sarwar said unseating SNP MPs in Scotland will be key to that victory.
Speaking at Glasgow Airport on Tuesday, Mr Sarwar said: “It is absolutely clear that those results demonstrate that we would have a majority Labour government because there weren’t elections in Scotland, Wales and in London.
“If you add those results across local government results that you saw in England, with what we expect to happen in Scotland, Wales but also in London, we can deliver that majority Labour government.”
It comes as he rubbished comments from Stephen Flynn who said UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer would backtrack on his stance of rejecting a coalition with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament.
Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, Mr Flynn said of Sir Keir: “He is not going to walk away from becoming prime minister simply to deny many of our asks.”
The conditions of a deal with the SNP would include prioritising the cost-of-living in policies and handing Holyrood the powers to hold an independence referendum, he said.
But Mr Sarwar repeated the refusal to work with the party at Westminster. He said: “No ifs, no buts, no deals with the SNP.
“We are going all out to get rid of this rotten Tory Government, all out to get a majority Labour government, and if we fall short of that, the SNP have a clear choice, they can either choose to welcome a Labour government, or allow a Tory government.
“And I dare the SNP to usher in a Tory government and see how Scotland reacts.”
He added: “We are going all out for a majority Labour government and I believe Scotland will help deliver the seats that helps get that majority Labour government.”
Mr Sarwar also accused Mr Flynn of aspiring “to be a replica of Douglas Ross” after he called for tactical voting at the next general election.
Mr Flynn urged Labour and Liberal Democrat voters to vote SNP to block the Tories, while Scottish Tory leader Mr Ross came under fire for suggesting unionist voters should back the party with the best chance of defeating the SNP.
On the BBC Scotland programme this morning, Mr Flynn also said: “This is the same Keir Starmer who quite openly dropped his opposition to Brexit, he dropped his opposition to nationalisation, he dropped his opposition to scrapping tuition fees, and he dropped his opposition at the weekend to repealing anti-protest legislation.
“We know that Keir Starmer is desperate to be prime minister. The key thing here is that the Tories have continued to ignore Scotland – will Labour?”
“Keir Starmer is a man who has broken many of his pledges, not just to the Labour party but to the wider British public in order to try and become prime minister.
Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said Sir Keir was “counting on some kind of backroom coalition or deal” to get into Downing Street, adding: “Stephen Flynn knows – as voters do – that Labour would cave into SNP demands for Indyref2 if that was the price for getting the keys to Downing Street.”