Sturgeon claims Starmer will 'bite her hand off' for Labour-SNP deal

Nicola Sturgeon eyes up SNP-Labour coalition as she claims Keir Starmer will ‘bite her hand off’ to put himself in No10 – but he swipes back that First Minister should ‘roll up her sleeves and concentrate on the NHS in Scotland’

  • Nicola Sturgeon says Keir Starmer will ‘bite hand off’ SNP to make himself PM
  • She dismisses Labour leader’s past claim he won’t do a deal with her party
  • SNP leader swipes at Sir Keir as a ‘pale imitation’ and suggest he’s ‘unprincipled’

Nicola Sturgeon today claimed Sir Keir Starmer would ‘bite the hand off’ the SNP in order to put himself into No10 after the next general election. 

The Scottish First Minister dismissed the Labour leader’s past declaration that he would strike ‘no deals’ with the SNP before or after the next election.

‘I don’t believe Keir Starmer on that,’ Ms Sturgeon said, as she rejected his ‘ridiculous’ stance on forming a potential SNP-Labour pact.

The SNP leader also swiped at Sir Keir for being a ‘pale imitation’ and called on him to ‘have a bit more principle’ and ‘more guts’ to challenge the Tories at Westminster. 

But, responding to Ms Sturgeon’s attack, the Labour leader told her to ‘roll up her sleeves and concentrate on the health service’ amid Scotland’s ambulance crisis. 

Nicola Sturgeon dismissed Sir Keir Starmer’s past declaration that he would strike ‘no deals’ with the SNP before or after the next election

Sir Keir, pictured on a visit to Harlow, Essex with Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner today, has ruled out ever doing a deal with the SNP amid Tory warnings of a ‘coalition of chaos’

Last summer, Sir Keir was forced to rule out ever doing a deal with the SNP after the Tories revived their warnings of a ‘coalition of chaos’ governing the UK.

If the next election results in a hung Parliament – with the Conservatives’ currently trailing Labour in the polls – the SNP could be left as kingmakers at Westminster.

Sir Keir might then have a choice between trying to govern as a minority Labour administration, or to strike a deal with the SNP – and possibly the Liberal Democrats as well – to prop up a Labour government.

Speaking to The News Agents podcast, Ms Sturgeon insisted she would always offer her party’s support to topple the Conservatives from power. 

‘I’ve always said, if the parliamentary arithmetic lends itself to this, I will always have the SNP vote in a way that locks the Tories out of Downing Street,’ she said.

‘That’s my position and that will continue to be my position.’

The Scottish First Minister also dismissed Sir Keir’s past claims he would not forge an alliance with her party in order to make himself prime minister. 

‘Is Keir Starmer in that position going to not take the opportunity to get the Tories out because he won’t talk to the SNP? I think that is ridiculous,’ she added.

‘Of course he needs to talk to the SNP if we were to hold the balance of power.

‘I don’t believe Keir Starmer on that – I think if we get into this scenario, he will be biting the hand off of the SNP leader to try to work together.’

Ms Sturgeon rejected a suggestion it was ‘inevitable’ Labour would win the next general election, despite Sir Keir’s current healthy poll lead over the Tories.

She also added to recent criticism of Sir Keir – including from his party’s left-wing – for abandoning a series of pledges on which he campaigned to be Labour leader.

Suggesting Sir Keir was ‘unprincipled’, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I don’t know how you can go from the Keir Starmer that I and the SNP worked with over Brexit… to be somebody who won’t even countenance the possibility of going back into the single market and say you’ve got principles.’

She added: ‘If I was in Labour, I’d really worry. Why would people vote for the pale imitation?

‘He needs to have a bit more principle, a bit more difference and actually a bit more guts to take on the Tories and to take on the right-wing media.’ 

Sir Keir hit back at Ms Sturgeon when asked about her comments and told the SNP leader to focus on her domestic struggles.

‘Can I gently suggest to Nicola Sturgeon that she might want to roll up her sleeves and concentrate on the health service in Scotland,’ the Labour leader told LBC Radio.

‘There’s been an ambulance crisis in Scotland for a very long time… the education system is on its knees.

‘So I think Nicola Sturgeon may want to spend a bit of time fixing some of the problems that are actually under her control in Scotland.’

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