Mr Starmer said there would be ‘no coalition’ with Nicola Sturgeon’s party – but he would work with the SNP leader to battle the climate crisis
Keir Starmer has ruled out a deal with the SNP either before or after the next election.
The Labour leader sought to draw a line in the sand over a second independence referendum, saying he would not hold talks with Nicola Sturgeon on constitutional questions.
On a visit to Scotland on Wednesday, Mr Starmer said he was willing to discuss the climate crisis and the recovery from the pandemic with the SNP leader.
But he insisted that Labour’s stance on independence would not shift – and there would be “no coalition”.
It comes as Boris Johnson snubbed the First Minister’s invitation for a meeting at Bute House in Edinburgh on his visit to Scotland this week.
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Mr Starmer was pressed on whether Labour could join forces with the SNP to stave off the Tories, as the party battles to regain ground in Scotland.
He told the Daily Record: “The questions going into that election are going to be generational questions – how do we ensure that as we come out of the pandemic we deal with the fundamental weaknesses that lead us with the highest death toll and the biggest impact of any major economy? And secondly, how do we meet the climate emergency?”
“They can only be answered, in my view, by a strong Labour government in Westminster.
“The central issue will be if you want a Labour government you have to vote Labour.
“You can’t vote for another party and get a Labour government in Westminster.
“That will be our strategic approach to those elections, and there’ll be no coalition going into those elections and no coalition coming out of it.”
Mr Starmer said he would “of course” discuss issues like the climate crisis with Ms Sturgeon ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow this autumn.
But he ruled out any arrangement with the SNP on constitutional issues and claimed that the party was not as progressive as some believe.
Mr Starmer said: “A test of how progressive you are is what you’re doing on climate change and they’ve manifestly failed on that.
“The SNP has failed to live up to the promises it made the people of Scotland.”
Former Labour leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband were both dogged by questions over potential deals with the Scottish nationalists.
Ex-Tory PM David Cameron famously warned voters in 2015 of the threat of a “coalition of chaos” between Labour and the SNP.