Labour MP refuses to rule out coalition with Lib Dems if party fails to win overall majority at General Election

23 May 2024, 20:09 | Updated: 23 May 2024, 21:17

Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds repeatedly refused to rule out a coalition with the Lib Dems.
Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds repeatedly refused to rule out a coalition with the Lib Dems. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Jenny Medlicott

A Labour MP has refused to rule out a coalition with the Lib Dems if they fail to win an overall majority at the General Election.

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Speaking to LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr, Shadow Minister Nick Thomas-Symonds repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility of a Labour coalition with the Lib Dems.

He said: “We are firstly, trying to win, that is what our objective is, we're trying to win.

“The only thing I would say about this though is there is obviously a party where we do not share values. They wish to break up the country that we're seeking to govern that is the Scottish National Party. There will be no deals before, during or after the election with the Scottish National Party.”

Pressed again by Andrew if he was not ruling out a coalition with the Lib Dems, Mr Thomas-Symonds said: With this we are not in any sense anticipating what the British public is going to do.”

And pressed once more, he said: “What I'm trying to do though, is to say, look, we are not taking anything for granted but there are some parties whose values are so remote from ours you could never envisage working with them in any form.”

It comes after Rishi Sunak earlier on Thursday said the Conservatives would not form a coalition with Reform UK.

Follow the LBC live General Election blog for all the twists and turns of the campaign train and listen live to LBC on Global Player, our official app

Shadow Minister refuses to rule out Labour and Lib Dems coalition

Asked by an LBC reporter if he could rule out any potential deals with the Reform party, or even a coalition government.

Mr Sunak replied: “Yes, of course I can rule that out. I’m not really focused on personalities elsewhere, I’m focused on delivering for the country and we live in an uncertain time and that’s why the choice for the country, the question for the country should be: who can build on the economic stability that we’ve not brought to ensure a secure future for everyone, and that requires bold action, it requires a clear plan - that’s what I bring to the table.

“For people who are focused on illegal migration, they will see a choice of a selection between Keir Starmer and me - it’s either one of the two of us who’s going to end up as Prime Minister after this election.”

It comes as the Conservatives and Labour have kicked off their election campaigns following Mr Sunak’s announcement on Wednesday that there would be a General Election on July 4.

Meanwhile, Reform leader Richard Tice told LBC’s Andrew Marr that he would be “delighted to replace the Conservatives” as voters head to the polls in July.

Tice Marr

He said: “Oh, I'd be delighted to replace the Conservative Party. This is a medium to long-term journey.

“No one is saying it's easy, but here's the thing, if you don't try you've got no chance and we are here for the long term. We think they've betrayed Britain and bluntly given what they've done to the country. They deserve to be replaced one quick.”

Earlier on Thursday Mr Sunak scored an own goal as he kicked off his election campaign at a South Wales brewery.

The prime minister asked the workers whether they were looking forward to the football later this summer as a potential source of revenue, despite Wales not qualifying for the Euro 2024 tournament.

There was an awkward pause after Mr Sunak asked: "So are you looking forward to all the football?"

One brewery employee answered: "We're not so invested in it," to which another responded: "That's because you guys aren't in it".

Read more: Is my MP standing down? Full list of current MPs quitting their seats ahead of General Election

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn 'set to run for election against Labour' as an independent in Islington North

Mr Sunak did a whistle-stop campaigning tour of all four nations of the UK on Thursday.
Mr Sunak did a whistle-stop campaigning tour of all four nations of the UK on Thursday. Picture: Alamy

The Prime Minister nonetheless insisted that "it'll be a good summer of sport".

Sir Keir Starmer fired off the first day of campaigning by heading to Gillingham where he said he was pleased the prime minister had called the General Election.

The Labour leader told reporters: "I am pleased the Prime Minister has called this election, because this is the change the country needs and has been waiting for for a very, very long time.

"Now the power is with the voters. It is their choice, and they have the choice now to vote for Labour and a better future for themselves, their families, their communities, and their country."