Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader, has said Labour would join the SNP in a vote of no confidence against the Tories if the latter emerge as the largest party after the election.
He was pressed repeatedly during the course of the Scottish Leader’s Debate by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon on whether or not Labour would vote with the SNP against a Queen’s speech delivered by the Tories.
“Would you rather see a Tory government?” asked Sturgeon, to which Murphy replied “don’t be ludicrous” before accusing her of “going off on one”.
Murphy stopped short of saying that Labour would enter into a formal alliance with the SNP but eventually conceded that Labour always vote against a Tory Queen’s speech.
In the event of no single party gaining an overall majority, the normal procedure is that the incumbent government will have the first opportunity to form a new government and deliver the Queen’s Speech, which lays out its policies and proposed legislation. The speech is then voted on by the Commons.
Current polls indicate it’s highly unlikely that any one party will win a big enough majority to command full control of parliament. This means the smaller parties, in particular the SNP, could well hold the balance of power following the election on May 7.
Earlier in the debate, Sturgeon repeated her offer to Labour that the SNP could help make Ed Miliband prime minister.
Murphy rebutted this, saying: “Nicola, we don’t need your help. What we need is people north and south of the border, people in Scotland, people in England and people in across Wales coming together to kick out an out of touch government.”
Sturgeon’s pledge to help Miliband into power comes after a leaked memo appeared in the Daily Telegraph at the weekend, in which she apparently told the French Ambassador she would rather see Cameron as Prime Minister. Sturgeon denies having said this.