Nicola Sturgeon confirms SNP would back 'progressive alliance' to oust Tories from power

First Minister states that SNP majority in Scotland would represent “an endorsement” of #ScotRef

FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON has launched the SNP’s 2017 General Election campaign at Westminster by saying she would be willing to form a ‘progressive alliance’ to block the Tories forming a government at Westminster, though her main priority was to win a majority of Scottish seats.

Speaking outside the Westminster Parliament in London today (19 April) Sturgeon also said that an SNP majority in Scottish seats would represent an “endorsement” of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament’s support for a referendum on Scottish independence.

Answering a question about post-election co-operation with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, Sturgeon said: “If the parliamentary arithmetic lent itself to the SNP being part of a progressive alliance to keep the Tories out of Government, then the SNP would seek to be part of that.”

However, she immediately qualified that position by saying she thought the scenario was unlikely.

“I’m not sure there are many people who think Labour are going to be in any position, on their own or with anyone else, to form a government,” she added.

“My job in this election, first and foremost, is to stand up for Scotland. My job is not to worry about coalitions with anybody,” she later said.

“If the parliamentary arithmetic lent itself to the SNP being part of a progressive alliance to keep the Tories out of Government, then the SNP would seek to be part of that.” Nicola Sturgeon

The position is similar to that adopted in advance of the 2015 General Election, which saw the SNP pick up 56 of 59 constituencies in Scotland.

She noted that then there was a greater prospect of a progressive plural government. In advance of the 2015 elections Ed Miliband was performing stronger in opinion polls, and he did not face the same level of internal party division, though he went on to lose the election which saw a Tory majority government formed.

Though Sturgeon specifically used the phrase “progressive alliance” the move would not amount to the an electoral pact called for by some in the SNP, which would see progressive parties avoid standing against each other in some seats, in a bid to maximise the leftwing vote against an increasingly strong Conservative party.

Sturgeon also said that if the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats “that clearly will be an endorsement of the plans we put forward” for an independence referendum.

In March the Scottish Parliament voted to request the powers from Westminster to hold an independence referendum in 2018-19, which the SNP said was necessary to defend Scotland’s relationship with Europe in the wake of May’s decision to negotiate hard Brexit.

Read more: Calls for a progressive alliance to oust the Conservatives

Scottish Labour figures including leader Kezia Dugdale and the party’s only Scottish MP Iain Murray have repeatedly quashed any notion of an alliance with the SNP, as they claim that the SNP is “not progressive” and that the Labour party in itself represents a “progressive alliance”.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he intends to win the election and form a government.

Picture courtesy of First Minister of Scotland

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Wed, 04/19/2017 - 13:50

This is great news - for the Tories. The SNP are committed to the breaking up the Union. If Labour and the LibDems are thought to be considering a coalition with them to form a government, it will cause more people to vote for the Tories to stop that from happening. The Tories are the government now because in 2015 the SNP broadcast the notion that a minority Labour government would have to dance to their tune.


Wed, 04/19/2017 - 17:32

"Its the economy , stupid"

Dear SNP, to fight the battles ahead can I please have an Industrial Policy, a Fiscal policy, a Monetary policy with a non GERS statement of accounts. Then and only then will we win the war.

Its the Economy Stupid

ejfj's picture


Wed, 04/19/2017 - 17:34

What nonsense. The SNP did no such thing. The Tories (and UKIP) were the ones who spread alarm, despondency and anti-"immigrant" sentiment, it was the Tories (together with UKIP) who stirred up anti-Scottish prejudice and resentment, and it was the Tories who put up advertising billboards portraying Ed Milliband in Alex Salmond's pocket, and Alex Salmond stealing English people's wallets. Neither was ever true, whatever the Daily Mail and the Daily Express may have said. The legacy of anti-Scottish hostility in England persists, however, as does the legacy of xenophobia and racism more generally.


Wed, 04/19/2017 - 17:34

Nope - the Tories spun that lie (repeatedly).
They knew that the SNP would be "King Makers" if Labour did well in the election and formed an alliance with them.
Miliband was so dense - he took the bait hook, line and sinker.
He even announced he would rather see a Tory government in power before siding with the SNP.
As it turned out, the SNP almost took every seat in Scotland - Labour only took one. In the rest of the UK, they did badly - so bad that even with 56 SNP seats in coalition, they still couldn't beat the Tories.
After the dust settled, the hype about the SNP and all the lies and Tory misinformation amounted to nothing. The Tories had a slim majority and were just as surprised as all the experts were.
Now we have umpteen Police investigations into Tory electoral fraud from 2015.
Maybe the experts were right after all, maybe the Tories were up to their usual tricks after all.
Maybe this snap election is a nifty way of body-swerving the Police investigations and consolidating their position as the government with absolutely no opposition.
Funny that - and "Now is not the time", "uncertainty", "the impact on Business confidence", etc, etc don't matter because its ok for the Tories to do whatever they like, when they like.
Not so it seems if you have a manifesto commitment that is honoured by the SNP and approved by the Scottish Government for another Independence referendum.
Such a warm and cuddly feeling being a part of this wonderful Union of Equals.

Alisdair McKay

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 18:04

In any eventuality it is most likely that the Conservatives will hold the majority in Westminster post election, and will have a free hand to do what they like, SNP or no SNP, has or will make any difference, the thorn in their side has not been the Labour party who have rolled over and obliged the Conservatives in Westminster. The thorn in their sides are those bloody Scots. SO, ignore their continued 'game playing' calls for a referendum. With a renewed mandate UK wide (England) announce that post Brexit power over agriculture and fisheries will reside at Westminster. Then, stating that devolution to Holyrood has been a failed experiment, disruptively exacerbating constitutional matters across the UK, rather than quashing the demands for independence, castrate it, ensuring that it ceases to raise any problems in the future. With no significant voice to speak for Scotland asset strip it to make sure it really is a lame duck with no prospects of contemplating independence ever again. I will be interested to hear why anyone thinks that Holyrood will be left to function without being seriously diminished, let alone able to argue for another referendum, following the forthcoming general election and Brexit process? Why will a conservative government in Westminster who's very foundations are seriously being threatened by it, who's standing with those who elect it and those who support it in Scotland, would be hugely enhanced by doing so, not simple steam roll Holyrood and Scotland's aspirations, leaving the SNP MPs at Westminster to bleat from the sidelines. Because of this prospect I think that it is suicidal for Scotland to have SNP candidates standing on any thing other than a mandate to simply return to Westminster to negotiate withdrawal forthwith. The general election will be our last chance to assert our withdrawal in a way that is binding on all parties and recognisable internationally without question. Whilst Holyrood is subordinate to Westminster and needs permissions, Scotland and it's MPs as elected representatives are not and do not need permission any more than the UK needed the permission of the EU for the EU referendum. A nation which is not capable of taking it's own freedom when it can is not ready to run it's own affairs.


Wed, 04/19/2017 - 18:07

Are any of you listening? No one gives a hoot about the politics. We have to PROOVE to the electorate that we can run our country. Everything else is secondary. Forget about the Tories; forget about the NHS; forget about Education; forget about social welfare; forget about ANYTHING else;

"Its the economy , stupid". My message to the SNP is....

Dear SNP, to fight the battles ahead can I please have an Industrial Policy, a Fiscal policy, a Monetary policy with a non GERS statement of accounts. Then and only then will we win the war.

Ross Priory


Wed, 04/19/2017 - 21:01

"The SNP did no such thing."

I continue to be astounded at the selective memories of SNP supporters. Yesterday was all about denying that Sturgeon ever said that the 2014 referendum would settle the independence referendum for a generation. Something that in fact she stated on multiple occasions, without any caveats.

Now today here you are denying something that the whole nation saw on live television on 18 April 2015.

It was the moment that sealed the election for the Tories.


Wed, 04/19/2017 - 23:05

As usual, Maurice's selective arguments can be happily ignored.

@Ross, the issues with creating a financial case for Indy before a referendum and even a potential date for independence, are numerous. Don't fall into the trap of responding to any Unionist complaint about such, because it is a lose-lose.

First of all, until such time as there is a potential date for independence, you are going to be constantly changing any such calculations based on circumstances, which are still largely outwith the control of ScotGov, even with the new powers they have only just obtained last year and this month.

This would then be open to constant criticism.

It is also time-consuming and costly to publish and disseminate such on an ongoing basis.

It also plays into the "Not doing the day job" line - which frankly I would join in on, if ScotGov actually did this.

The best you are going to get is the sort of thing that Common Weal has produced, in Beyond Gers.

I appreciate that you might be frustrated at not being able to answer Unionists that make this argument, but think about it: they are being unreasonable. Do they have a budget for c2021, yet?

Point to Beyond Gers, point out that best estimates show a much better picture than GERS does, or would, but it would be unreasonable at this stage to account for every paperclip.


Wed, 04/19/2017 - 23:47

The best estimates show a much better picture than GERS does because they were invented, by amateurs, specifically for the purpose of covering the embarrassment that separatists feel about "the authoritative publication on Scotland's finances" - Independence White Paper, page 67.

Peter Dow's picture

Peter Dow

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 11:24

"Progressive alliance", First Minister?

What? ... as opposed to the REACTIONARY SNP/Tory Fiscal Framework Agreement of February 2016, the Tartan-Tory stitch-up to tie the hands of the Scottish government preventing £ billions a year more borrowing for investment to end austerity, improve services, build infrastructure, grow the economy, create more and better jobs, paying more, bringing fairness and prosperity to the people?

The SNP going cap-in-hand to the UK Treasury to settle for the crumbs from the Tory-master's table while imposing austerity as the Tories' hired hands is anything but "progressive".

A progressive alliance would be a fine thing but the SNP's record speaks for itself.

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