Ed Miliband unveils offensive linking SNP to Tories

Miliband: bid to 'dispel myths'. Picture: PA
Miliband: bid to 'dispel myths'. Picture: PA
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Ed Miliband will go on the offensive against the SNP on a visit to Scotland tomorrow as Labour prepares to unveil a dossier of evidence to show that Nationalist MPs supported the Tories 70 per cent of the time during the last two Labour governments.

The attack is part of efforts “to dispel the myth” that an SNP vote will bring in a Labour government, Labour sources say.

Discussions are also underway to commemorate the 28 March anniversary of 11 SNP MPs joining the Tories to help vote down Jim Callaghan’s government in 1979.

The historic vote led to the election which brought in Margaret Thatcher and heralded 17 years of Conservative rule. Proposals to mark the day include wearing a black arm band and laying a wreath at the miners’ memorial.

The dossier, which is to be sent to households as a leaflet, contains an analysis of voting by the House of Commons library showing that, between 2001 and 2005, when the SNP and Tories both voted they went into the same division lobby 64 per cent of the time. The figure increased between 2005 and 2010, the period of the last Labour government, when the Tories and SNP voted together 71 per cent of the time.

Crucially, the numbers are higher for Budget and finance votes with the SNP voting with the Tories 68 per cent of the time 2001 to 2005 and 88 per cent between 2005 and 2010.

The dossier is part of a new push by Scottish Labour to warn voters that “a vote for the SNP is a vote for the Tories.”

It comes the week after Labour leader Ed Miliband ruled out a formal coalition with the SNP, and Scotland on Sunday understands this will be extended to a confidence and supply deal.

Instead the party will “dare the SNP to vote against Labour progressive policies” such as restoring the 50p rate for those earning £150,000 or more or bringing in a mansion tax on properties worth £2 million or more.

The introduction to the dossier says: “A vote for the SNP just makes it more likely that the Tories will carry on in Downing Street after the election.”

Labour’s shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran, who is facing a strong challenge from the SNP in her Glasgow East seat, said: “This analysis by the independent House of Commons library confirms that the SNP voted against the last Labour Government more than it voted with us.

But SNP depute leader Stewart Hosie last night branded the Labour claims a “boomerang attack”.

He said: “It shows just how out of touch with Scotland and the facts Ed Miliband is... Labour have voted with the Tories almost twice as many times during the 2010-15 Parliament as the SNP have.

“And in the last session of the Scottish Parliament, Labour voted more often with the Tories.

“A strong team of SNP MPs elected in May will always promote Scotland’s interests.”