DAVID Cameron heads north to launch the Scottish Conservatives' manifesto today facing claims he is preparing a "grubby deal" with the SNP over its plan for full fiscal autonomy.


Margaret Curran, Labour's shadow Scottish Secretary claimed the Tories were moving towards full fiscal autonomy for England after Mr Cameron unveiled plans to bar Scots MPs from voting on income tax rates south of the Border.

She claimed the move, which is opposed by Labour and the Lib Dems, paved the way for a deal with the SNP, who have made full fiscal autonomy for Scotland their key election demand.

The claim was rejected by the Prime Minister, who will rule out "any sort of deal" with the Nationalists when he addresses supporters in Glasgow today.

The SNP's Eilidh Whiteford dismissed Ms Curran's "fantasy politics".

The clashes followed Mr Cameron's proposals for English Votes for English Laws, or EVEL, unveiled in the Tory manifesto.

As Labour warned of a damaging Tory-SNP deal and Mr Cameron raised the spectre of a "coalition of chaos" between Labour and the SNP, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said his party would enter a "coalition with conscience" after May 7.

Positioning his party as potential centre ground partners for either Labour or the Conservatives, he said post-election deals with either Ukip or the SNP would create a "coalition of grievance" and added: "Somebody is going to hold the balance of power on 8 May.

"It is not going to be David Cameron or Ed Miliband.

"It could be Alex Salmond, it could be Nigel Farage or it could be me and the Liberal Democrats."

Nicola Sturgeon will also talk up her party's chances of holding the balance of power when she faces Ed Miliband and other opposition party leaders in a televised "challengers" debate tonight.

Looking ahead to the programme, she said the SNP would seek to join a "progressive alliance" to end austerity across the UK.

"The mould of two and three-party politics at Westminster has been shattered, and the reality is that no single party will be in a position to form a government on its own after May 7.

"That presents a fantastic moment of opportunity to deliver the positive change that people are looking for," she said.

Denouncing Tory plans to block Scots MPs from voting on English income tax rates when Holyrood gains controls of rates in Scotland, Ms Curran claimed: "The Tories and the SNP are now pursuing a joint and dangerous agenda of shattering the UK tax system and breaking apart the UK welfare state.

"The Tory plan for English only taxation looks like the first step to full fiscal autonomy for England.

"It's clear the Tories are opening the door to a grubby deal with the SNP if they cling on to power.

"Nicola Sturgeon says she won't support the Tories but will she really say no if the Tories are the largest party and offer her what she wants in return for the votes of her MPs?"

She again claimed full fiscal autonomy, which would hand Holyrood control over all tax and spending decisions in Scotland, would lead to deep spending cuts, after the IFS think tank warned the policy would leave the country £7.6billion worse off.

Mr Cameron will try to turn the tables when he launches the Scots Tory manifesto.

He will say Labour and the SNP are "really on the same side" in wanting to spend more than the Conservatives over the next parliament.

He will say: "Together, they pose a clear threat to the future of our United Kingdom.

"A coalition of chaos.

"The SNP acting as the chain to Labour's wrecking ball, running right through our economic recovery, and it will be you who pays the price.

He will add: "There's only one party left holding the mantle of a strong United Kingdom and a strong economy; only one party speaking above these warring tribes and about what actually matters to working people: and it's us, the Conservative Party.

"And I tell you, we will never do any sort of deal with any party that wants to break up our United Kingdom."

Ms Whiteford, the SNP's welfare spokeswoman, said: "This is fantasy politics from Margaret Curran and it just shows how desperate Labour are. "We couldn't be clearer that we will never put the Tories into government and a strong bloc of SNP MPs will join with other progressive parties to lock the Tories out of Downing Street.

"Ed Miliband has failed to give the same pledge."