Mhairi Black rejects Labor rejection of Pact with Tories
Yesterday’s Jackie Baillie said there would be no deal. “The next general election is an opportunity to get rid of the Tories and send a message to the SNP – by voting for Scottish Labour,” she said.
However, Mhairi Black denied the rejection. She said Labor leader Anas Sarwar “cannot be confident that he will not strike a secret pact with the Tories at the next general election”.
“It’s the Better Together coalition again — and it absolutely stinks,” she added.
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The row comes amid speculation that could happen sooner rather than later.
An official walking down Downing Street yesterday accidentally leaked party plans for candidate selection, with constituencies and names captured by a photographer.
Both the Tories and Labor are focused on the local elections in England and Wales, where a good result for Rishi Sunak could see him enter the country before the January 2025 deadline.
Polls by Redfield & Wilton Strategies released last night saw Labor’s lead fall by two points to 17, the smallest since November – although it’s still an almost certain landslide for Sir Keir Starmer’s party.
In Scotland, proposals for the so-called ‘Vote Smart’ strategy to ‘end nationalist dominance’ emerged over the weekend.
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According to the Sunday Times, Labor voters would be pushed to support Tories in rural parts of Scotland while Tories would give Labor free rein in their industrial heartland
An insider told the newspaper the party had “found a way to end nationalist dominance” and make the SNP “pay” for ignoring Scottish priorities.
“But that requires the Scots to vote wisely to maximize tactical coordination. That means putting aside normal party politics and voting for the candidate most likely to beat the SNP.”
“This means, for example, that Conservative voters in Glasgow support Labor while Labor voters in Aberdeenshire vote for the Conservatives.”
Focus groups held by the Tories in rural seats suggest there is little evidence of a Labor Party revival outside the party’s historic strongholds.
Tory targets are said to include Angus, Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock and Gordon.
Ms Baillie said the plot was an admission by Mr Sunak’s party that it had lost the next general election.
“It appears that the Scottish Tories have accepted that they have lost the next general election. Scotland has two failing governments. The next general election is an opportunity to get rid of the Tories and send a message to the SNP – by voting for Scottish Labour.”
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However, Ms Black said there was “little difference” between the “two weary old Westminster parties”.
She added: “Under Keir Starmer, the Labor Party has slumped to the right and become a pale replica of the Tories – supporting austerity, forcing Brexit, attacking decentralization and denying Scotland the democratic right to hold an independence referendum on our own future to decide.
“With Tory-Labour deals already in place throughout Scotland’s local authorities, it is clear that Anas Sarwar cannot be trusted not to strike a secret pact with the Tories at the next general election. It’s the Better Together coalition again – and it absolutely stinks.
“Scotland deserves better than a choice between two Tory parties. At the next election, the SNP will be the only party to offer real change from the pro-Brexit, cut-back Westminster parties.”
Ms Baillie hit back at Ms Black, describing her intervention as “pathetic”.
She said: “While Mhairi Black complains about the Tories, Labor stands ready to oust them from government.
“Only Labor can replace this morally bankrupt and economically illiterate Tory government and bring about the change Scotland needs.”
The plan was also pushed back by the Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London, which did not want the party to help No. 10 Keir Starmer.
Tory benchman Stephen Kerr appeared to back the plan during an interview with the BBC.
“I think it would be wrong to underestimate the sophistication of the Scottish electorate,” he said. “I think they know exactly what they want. They know exactly how to vote.”
Asked if the Tories were trying to rig the Unionist vote, Mr Kerr said he was “absolutely not interested in the word rigging of any kind”.
He said: “The people of Scotland have their priorities. The Conservative Party is committed to delivering on those priorities and when it comes to voting, I think they will know how to vote to get rid of this nationalist government.”
Asked what Prime Minister Rishi Sunak might think of the plans, Mr Kerr said the PM was “obliged to put the country first”.
“I don’t know what the Prime Minister knows and doesn’t know because I wasn’t involved in the discussions of what you read on the front page of the Sunday Times.
“All I know is that as a conservative in my DNA, I want to do what’s right for my country.”
https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/23432489.mhairi-black-dismisses-labour-denial-pact-tories/?ref=rss Mhairi Black rejects Labor rejection of Pact with Tories