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Warning over anti-Cameron alliance

Published 01/05/2015

Lord McConnell (right) allowed Alex Salmond to form a Scottish government after the SNP won one more seat than Labour
Lord McConnell (right) allowed Alex Salmond to form a Scottish government after the SNP won one more seat than Labour

The SNP and Labour would not be able to "gang up" against David Cameron and form an anti-Tory government if the Conservatives win most seats in next week's election, a former Labour first minister has warned.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has offered to make Labour's Ed Miliband prime minister if there is an "anti-Tory majority" in the House of Commons and block the Conservatives from a second term in government.

But L ord McConnell said, even if Mr Cameron fails to win an overall majority, the "public perception will be that he has won" if he emerges from the May 7 election with the largest number of MPs.

The former Scottish first minister refused to try to form an administration in Edinburgh after the 2007 Holyrood elections, as the SNP won one more seat that Labour.

Lord McConnell told BBC Newsnight he had been " under massive pressure" to work with the Lib Dems and Conservatives to "try to put together an anti-SNP coalition".

But he added: "My view was, even people who hadn't voted for the SNP felt they had won. If we had tried to do anything that went against the grain we would have been in massive trouble."

The Labour politician said that meant " even if Cameron was to lose a few seats, if he still has a few seats more than Labour then public perception will be that he has won".

In those circumstances he said the "SNP argument that everybody else could gang up on him will not work".

He said: "if we get to Friday morning and the sitting Prime Minister who is in Number 10 has won more seats than anyone else he will automatically get the first go and the public will expect him to do that."

However he said: " If Cameron loses, even by only one or two seats, then all the momentum and pressure shifts to Ed Miliband to try and form a government - and so will public opinion."

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