PMQs: Blackford tells PM to resign in wake of Sue Gray report
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Ian Blackford was quizzed over whether the SNP would form an alliance with the Labour Party if a general election was called following a vote of no confidence against Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister, who survived the vote by 211 to 148, could call an election to regain some authority from rebel Tory MPs. BBC Radio 4 host Justin Webb asked Mr Blackford: “After an election would there be any chance of a formal deal between the SNP and Labour?”
Speaking to the Today programme, Mr Blackford said: “This is a matter that has come up in every election over the course of the last few years from 2015 onwards.
“There is certainly no view in the SNP that we should be entering into a coalition with anybody in Westminster.
“Our job is to represent the interests of voters in Scotland and it’s worth reminding everybody in the election to the Scottish Parliament last year that the SNP won that on the basis of delivering an independence referendum.”
Mr Webb interjected: “If Labour said, ‘we’re not going to answer any questions whether we would allow a referendum to take place before the election’, you wouldn’t voter down a Labour Queen’s speech? You would do what was necessary to keep a Labour Government going if that was necessary?”
The SNP Westminster leader continued: “You say allow a referendum. This isn’t about anybody in Westminster. This is about democracy and the right for people to choose.”
Mr Webb noted: “But it’s also about whether you would back a Labour Government or not and what I’m putting to you is there isn’t a deal that needs to be done.
“You’re obviously not going to keep the Conservatives in power and if Labour had a chance at having a Queen’s speech and needed your votes to get it passed that would happen, wouldn’t it?”
Mr Blackford added: “We certainly reject the right of the Tories to rule in Scotland.
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“The Tories have lost every election since 1955, we’ve never elected a Tory Government over the lifetime of most people.
“What is of primary importance is the right for people to choose their own future.
“For anybody in Westminster, they have to respect the right of people in Scotland.
“The answer is very simple, nobody can come to us and have a discussion about how we would vote in any material position in parliament until anybody in Westminster is prepared to accept the rights of people in Scotland.”
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It comes as the Scottish Government has published some legal advice it has received on its plans for a second independence vote – but ministers have been accused of leaving the “big questions unanswered”.
A two-page document – published as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reaffirmed her commitment to holding a second referendum by the end of 2023 – was released after Scottish Information Commissioner Daren Fitzhenry ruled in April that some of the legal advice should be made public.
The paper showed ministers have been advised there is a “legal basis” for them to ask elections watchdogs at the Electoral Commission to test the question for a second independence referendum.
It also stated it was the opinion of the law officers – the Lord Advocate in Scotland and the Solicitor General – that ministers “can lawfully undertake policy development work preparing proposals for independence”.
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