Scottish coalition turning frosty as election nears

Polling day for the Scottish Parliament lands in May next year, and the election ‘air war’ is heating up already.

Last week’s Scotland on Sunday newspaper lead with a story placed by anonymous Labour sources saying that, if Labour were to go up roughly six seats (that’s quite a big ‘if!’) at the election, they would pursue a strategy of minority administration and kick the Lib Dems out of coalition government.

The source indicated that the problem was that it was the Lib Dems, not Labour, who were behind many of the flagship changes to government policy in the last Parliament, and the b**gers were insisting on claiming the credit.

So far so ‘placing an anti-LibDem news story to appease unhappy Labour backbenchers.’

Today, the Liberal Democrats have responded in the Herald, with Scottish leader Nicol Stephen saying “If Labour is in a minority situation and trying to form a minority administration, let’s be absolutely clear on this – the Liberal Democrats would not vote for Jack McConnell as First Minister.”

According to the Herald ‘He also said the LibDems would refuse to support other Labour ministerial nominations, adding: “In those circumstances, the Labour Party would have to look to the Conservatives to vote them into office”‘.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are hoping to be the largest group in the Scottish Parliament after the elections next May, raising the real prospect of a Liberal Democrat First Minister.

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