LABOUR has rubbished talk of a coalition government, insisting that they are on course to win an overall majority at the next general election

The dismissal comes as both the Lib Dems and the SNP made clear their price for supporting Sir Keir Starmer’s party in a hung parliament. 

Mhairi Black, the SNP’s deputy leader in Westminster said her party’s MPs “ would put Scotland in the driving seat of a minority UK government – and ensure the power to determine Scotland’s future is transferred to Edinburgh.”

Sir Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme that electoral reform was “very important” for his party. 

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Thursday’s local elections in England saw Labour move to become the largest party in local government, overtaking the Conservatives for the first time since 2002.

They picked up more than 500 seats by Friday evening, while the Tories exceeded even their most pessimistic expectations, losing more than 1,000 councillors.

However, the level of support won by Labour this week may not be enough to give them an overall majority in the Commons. 

In order to win a general election, the party would need a lead of about eight points in the polls to secure a majority.

The final national equivalent vote share calculated by the local election experts Michael Thrasher and Colin Rallings this weekend gives Labour a lead of seven points. 

Crucially, that calculation does not factor in Scotland or London, where there were no council elections. 

According to the Sunday Times, the party’s strategists expect them to win between 15 and 20 Scottish seats at the next general election. 
The Herald:

Asked about working with other parties to form a government, Wes Streeting told the BBC: “We’re just not in that ballpark of talking about coalition governments.”

The shadow health secretary also told the programme: “We think we can win a majority, people wouldn’t have said that after the last general election, that’s what we’re working towards, that’s what we’re fighting for, and I think people can go confidently to the polls at the next general election knowing that a Labour government is possible and within our grasp.”

He said: “The reason that David Cameron got a majority in 2015 was because we went around and hoovered up a whole load of seats in the south of England where they are Lib Dem versus Conservative places.

“So, a Lib Dem recovery in those areas isn’t somehow a risk to a Labour majority, it is a path to a Labour majority. And, of course, only Labour can win a majority.”

When it was put to him that the local election results do not show Labour can be confident of a majority at the next general election and Mr Streeting said: “Thursday night’s local election results were exactly that, local election results, not a prediction of the next general election.”

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Meanwhile, Sir Ed categorically ruled out a coalition with the Conservatives. 

He told the BBC: “No. I’ve spent all my life fighting the Conservatives.”

He said he “fought them every day” previously in coalition under David Cameron, adding: “When I became leader of the party I made it very clear that my job was to get the Conservatives out of government.”

Asked about the prospect of a coalition with Labour, he said: “That is a hypothetical question because we don’t know what’s going to happen after the next election.”

Put to him that he was ruling out working with the Conservatives but not Labour, said: “The focus is on getting rid of Conservative MPs. I make no apology for that.”

He added: “What I want to do is to win lots of seats, mainly off the Conservatives, some off the SNP. Then you’ll have lots of Liberal Democrat MPs able to push forward Liberal Democrat policies whatever the combination of the next Parliament.”

Asked if a change to the electoral system was the price of working with Labour, he said his party would be putting forward policies in a number of areas, adding: “Electoral reform is very important for the Liberal Democrats.”

He said: “PR (proportional representation) is absolutely on the table for the Liberal Democrats. Of course it is, it has been for years.”

In a statement, released on Saturday, Ms Black said that in the event of a hung parliament, the SNP would force Labour to the left.

She said: “At the next election, voting SNP is the best way to lock the Tories out of Scotland.

“A strong team of SNP MPs would put Scotland in the driving seat of a minority UK government – and ensure the power to determine Scotland’s future is transferred to Edinburgh.

“With Keir Starmer’s pro-Brexit party becoming increasingly indistinguishable from the Tories, the SNP would drag the Labour Party to the left and demand real change.

“Starmer’s flip-flopping U-turns on Brexit, tuition fees, nationalisation, electoral reform, and so many other issues shows he can’t be trusted.

“The SNP would keep Labour honest, ensure a strong voice for Scotland – and progressive change across the UK, including investment in the NHS and public services.

“Voting SNP would put the choice over Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, ensure the cost-of-living crisis becomes the main priority of Westminster, and rebuild our relations with Europe.”

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Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is coming under pressure over the poor set of results. 

According to reports, there is criticism of Rishi Sunak and his cabinet for staying away from the campaign trail. 

Tories loyal to Boris Johnson have put the blame for the losses purely on Mr Sunak’s shoulders. 

Lord Cruddas tweeted: “These location election results and the dire polls leading into them are a reflection of the disunity in the Conservative Party caused by the 1922 committee and MPs in removing two sitting prime ministers and installing a leader rejected by the members.”

David Campbell Bannerman, the former MEP and chairman added: “This is down to Rishi — the plot against Boris and ineffective leadership when this Tory Macbeth seized the Tory crown. Remember Boris turned the locals disaster of May 2019 under [Theresa] May into the triumph of an 80-seat majority in December 2019. Sunak has had the same amount of time and failed.”

Speaking about the losses the Conservatives suffered in Thursday's local elections in England, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer admitted it was a "difficult result" for her party