Nicola Sturgeon: Ed Miliband made mistake in ruling out SNP deal

Ed Miliband

Nicola Sturgeon has laughed off talk of any coalition with a Labour administration for the foreseeable future, saying she did not think it “would be forming a government with anybody any time soon”.

Speaking at the Women in the World conference in London, Sturgeon said she believed Ed Miliband had made an error in rejecting her offer of cooperation. “Like many people I was very disappointed the Tories won a majority. 

“Before the election I said if there wasn’t a Tory majority, we would work with Labour and other progressive parties to form a progressive government. Ed Miliband didn’t like that idea. I think if he had been much more positive about it, he might have done better, but anyway, that is in the past. I will always seek to work with progressive people for progressive government.”

“Jeremy, give me a call,” she joked, when asked what her terms would be for a future deal with Labour.

Working with Labour and others to defeat the government over plans to abolish the Human Rights Act would be one of the best possible achievements for the Scottish National party this parliament, Sturgeon said.

“It is possible to defeat David Cameron on this,” she said, expressing hope that Conservative rebels would join Labour and the SNP in opposing a repeal of the act. “This has an impact on the Scottish parliament; the UK government would need the Scottish parliament to consent to this change, and let me tell you, there is not any chance of the Scottish government consenting. This would be one of the best possible defeats to inflict on David Cameron.

“I find the notion that in a civilised country we could even be talking about repealing human rights legislation to be absolutely ridiculous.”

Sturgeon said she had been struck this week by the Sisters Uncut protest at the premiere of the film Suffragette, about the effect of budget cuts on provisions to tackle domestic violence. “Domestic violence is a symbol of gender inequality but is also a cause of gender inequality,” she said, highlighting current moves by the Scottish parliament to make domestic violence an aggravating factor in sentencing.

In a tense exchange with the interviewer Sir Harold Evans, where he said police had to be cautious in case domestic violence calls were “vexatious”, Sturgeon replied: “I don’t think any call from a women reporting abuse should be treated as vexatious. We are seeing the rate of prosecution go up very sharply.

“There’s a massive effort going into this and that is right and proper. We need to drive forward gender equality, but we won’t do that if women are held back by violence and abuse.”

Sturgeon said she would continue to support a quota system to get more women into politics. “I’ve argued for positive action, I do believe in quotas, though I would like to get there without them. I don’t want my nine-year-old niece to still be fighting these battles. I don’t believe it is good for any of us to underuse the talents of 50% of the population.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jessica Elgot, for theguardian.com on Friday 9th October 2015 18.30 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010