Labour deny plan to change party constitution to rule out coalitions with SNP

Labour has poured cold water on claims the party’s constitution could be changed to rule out any formal coalitions with the SNP.

Reports over the weekend suggested Sir Keir Starmer could change Labour’s rule book to ban coalitions with nationalist parties.

The idea was met with anger from some quarters. Welsh Labour member of the Senedd (MS) Alun Davies branded it “nonsense”.

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Sir Keir Starmer
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Former Labour special adviser David Clark said it suggested “unionism has now supplanted democratic socialism as Labour’s core belief system”.

However, party insiders in Scotland said they did not recognise the briefing “at all”.

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“Beyond anything else, changing the party constitution takes two consecutive conferences,” a Scottish Labour source said. “Hardly a speedy response to the issue.

"We’ve been absolutely clear – no deals with the SNP in or out of a general election.”

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The source left the door open to Labour’s general election manifesto ruling out coalitions with the SNP.

Sir Keir has repeatedly dismissed the prospect of any deals with the Nationalists.

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Last month, he said: "It's a very strong and emphatic no, not just because of the numbers, but as a matter of principle."

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has said: “Labour will do no deal with the SNP – no deal, no pact, no behind-closed-doors arrangement, no coalition.

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“At the next election, we will be fighting for every vote and we are aiming to form a majority Labour Government.

“Should we fall short of that, and be in a position to form a minority government, the SNP will face a simple choice.

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“It can choose to keep the Tories in power or choose to back a Labour government.

SNP Deputy Westminster Leader Kirsten Oswald said: “Regardless of whether this is a genuine plan, this bungled posturing shows Keir Starmer is running scared of the Tories and is too afraid to challenge their regressive policies head on.

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“You don’t beat the Tories by turning into them, but that’s exactly what the Labour Party is doing under Starmer's leadership.

"Instead of offering a real alternative, they are copying the Tories on Brexit, austerity cuts, democracy denial, and their arrogant treatment of Scotland and the devolved nations.”

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