SNP frontrunner Kate Forbes rules out Starmer coalition unless constitutional devolution is on the table

20 March 2023, 20:19

Kate Forbes doesn't rule out going into a coalition with Keir Starmer

By Chay Quinn

SNP leadership frontrunner Kate Forbes has ruled out a coalition with Sir Keir Starmer's Labour unless he offers constitutional devolution to Holyrood in LBC's hustings.

The former Holyrood finance secretary was asked about bipartisan cooperation with Labour by a caller into the debate.

When asked about a deal to prop up a Labour government at the next general election, Forbes said: "Unlikely. I think it's unlikely.

"All of us have been asked this question. For me I would like to see the devolution of constitutional affairs if there was ever to be any discussion of working with other parties in an informal way."

The question appears to draw a line in the sand for a potential Forbes-led SNP. If Labour were to grant such powers, it would be likely that the SNP would look to call a second independence referendum which is currently being blocked by the UK Government by virtue of a Supreme Court ruling last year.

Kate Forbes
Kate Forbes all but ruled out cooperation with Keir Starmer's Labour. Picture: LBC
Keir Starmer Attends Welsh Labour Party Conference
Keir Starmer may have to gamble on the fate of the Union in the case he needs to form a coalition. Picture: Getty

Read More: 'Am I a sinner?' Iain Dale challenges Kate Forbes on her views about gay rights

Read More: LBC's SNP hustings debate as it happened, with candidates going head to head to replace Nicola Sturgeon

The debate was noticeably less abrasive in tone than previous hustings after a damaging weekend of high-profile resignation which have marred the contest to replace Nicola Sturgeon.

Earlier in the debate, Forbes said she will govern for all minorities - including same-sex couples and people of faith after she was challenged on her views on LGBT rights by LBC's Iain Dale.

She had previously indicated that she would have voted against Scotland's legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2013 as a "matter of conscience" based on her religion.

Fellow candidate Humzah Yousef accused Sir Keir Starmer of being willing to sell his soul to get into Downing Street during the debate in another blow to cooperation hopes.

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