Four reasons why a Labour-SNP coalition is unlikely

A new poll by Survation suggests that Scots’ preferred government post-May 2015 is a Labour-SNP coalition. Such a deal is unlikely.

The poll, for the Daily Record, suggests that 35% of Scots see this as the preferred outcome from the election. Next came a Labour majority, with 20% preferring this option, then a Conservative majority on 14%. Just 6% of Scots said they were in favour of a Conservative-UKIP coalition, whilst a mere 5% would like to see a repeat of the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

With a hung parliament likely, speculation over what sort of government will be formed is widespread.

Whilst a Labour-SNP coalition might be preferred most by voters in Scotland, here’s four Reasons why this will be unlikely, even in the event that the arithmatic is possible.

1) The recent Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition

It’s highly unlikely that the SNP will want to enter into a coalition with the Con-Lib arrangement fresh in the minds of voters. Whatever one’s views on the coalition, it will be remembered as an electoral blow to the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems ended up signing up to things they disagreed with - tuition fees being the main example. The SNP will likely not wish to make a similar mistake. A confidence and supply arrangement with the SNP supporting Labour on budgets and confidence motions might be more appropriate as it would allow the parties to stick to their principals on other issues.

2) The situation in Holyrood

The main battle in the Westminster elections is between Labour and the Conservatives, but in Scotland, Labour and the SNP are the two main parties, with the SNP ahead in Holyrood with their majority and Labour - for now - ahead in Westminster.

If the two parties enter into a formal coalition in May, then that could have unintended consequences for both parties in the 2016 Holyrood elections. If the two parties had to agree on a UK level, but disagree on a Scotland level then there could be losses for both parties, something neither Ed Miliband nor Nicola Sturgeon will want.

3) Trident

According to the BBC, the SNP have said that it is unlikely that they will support a party that wishes to renew trident. It seems unlikely that Labour would go through with this. A recent Labour List article highlighted that Labour policy states that:

‘Labour has said that we are committed to a minimum, credible independent nuclear deterrent, delivered through a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent. It would require a clear body of evidence for us to change this belief.’

If some negotiations go successfully at first between Labour and the SNP, then this could be where things get tricky.

4) Backlash

There’s already questions over Scottish MPs voting on non-Scottish issues, but having an exclusively Scotland-based party in government, making decisions that could affect the rest of the UK and not Scotland will inevitably cause some sort of backlash.

Agreement but not coalition?

A formal coalition looks unlikely even if the numbers add up. So an agreement of confidence and supply looks more likely. However, that will cause it’s own problems at times and could well result in another election by the end of the year or well before 2020.

The full data for the poll can be found here.


SNP support remaining strong in Scotland

UKIP on 12% in Scotland - a blip or changing times ?

Sixteen weeks until the election: Labour ahead by two points

What sort of government would you like to see after May?