- Sir John Major warns that Labour government with SNP would cause chaos
- He said Labour propped up by SNP would mean high taxes and fewer jobs
- Former PM said Miliband would face 'daily dose of blackmail' off Sturgeon
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major has warned that a Labour government propped up by the Scottish Nationalists would plunge Britain into chaos
John Major will today warn that a Labour government propped up by the Scottish Nationalists would plunge the country into chaos.
With the SNP yesterday pledging an ‘end to austerity’ and demanding a £148billion spree, he will say a Labour deal with the separatists would mean higher taxes, more debt and fewer jobs.
And David Cameron warned: ‘It might be a match made in heaven for them but it is a match made in hell for the British economy.
'If Labour and the SNP get into power, you are going to see an alliance between a party that wants to spend, borrow and tax more … with a party that wants to spend, borrow and tax even more.’
The extraordinary manifesto launched by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon yesterday included:
- Spending cuts to be replaced by above-inflation rises for the next five years;
- A 50p top rate of tax, a mansion tax and a new tax on bank bonuses;
- Increased state handouts and a reversal of Tory welfare reforms;
- Scrapping the Trident nuclear deterrent.
Treasury analysis suggests the package would cost taxpayers £148billion over five years.
And Sir John, who is the last Tory to win an election outright, will say Ed Miliband would face a ‘daily dose of blackmail’ from Miss Sturgeon, whose party may win 50 Commons seats.
The former PM will say: ‘If Labour were to accept an offer of support from the SNP, it could put the country on course to a government held to ransom on a vote-by-vote basis.
‘Labour would be in hock to a party that – slowly but surely – will push them ever further to the left. And who would pay the price for this? We all would. We would all pay for the SNP’s ransom in our daily lives – through higher taxes, fewer jobs, and more and more debt.
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‘The SNP’s driving ambition is an independent Scotland and – as the price for their support – they will demand policies that favour Scotland. That is no way to run a country, and nor is it remotely fair to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
‘The Labour leader in Scotland [Jim Murphy] has already suggested a similar ploy. He’s proposed that Labour’s new tax on the family home in England would raise funds for Scotland.
‘If a Labour leader asks for that, how much more will the SNP demand?’
Sir John, who rarely intervenes in political debate, added: ‘This is a recipe for mayhem. At the very moment our country needs a strong and stable government, we risk a weak and unstable one – pushed to the left by its allies, and open to a daily dose of political blackmail.’
Sir John (pictured with former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown), who is the last Tory to win an election outright, will say Ed Miliband would face a ‘daily dose of blackmail’ from the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon
Senior figures in Ed Miliband's (right) Labour party have appeared to soften their stance on a potential deal with the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon (left) in a hung parliament. It comes after Miss Sturgeon vowed to end austerity
Yesterday, senior Labour figures appeared to soften their stance on a potential deal with the SNP in a hung parliament.
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and health spokesman Andy Burnham said the party would be prepared to talk to Miss Sturgeon to try to win backing for a legislative programme.
Asked to rule out any arrangement with the SNP after May 7, Mr Balls replied: ‘We’ll have to wait and see what the election result is going to be.’
In a BBC interview, Mr Miliband denied the SNP would dictate policy but again refused to rule out negotiating for support in major Commons votes.
Asked if the SNP would be calling the shots, Mr Miliband said: ‘That ain’t gonna happen. That ain’t gonna happen.’
Miss Sturgeon used her manifesto launch in Edinburgh to seek to assuage the fears of voters in the rest of the UK about her party being involved in the next government.
‘I hold out the hand of friendship,’ she declared.
Miss Sturgeon said her number one priority would be an end to austerity, vowing to make Scotland’s voice heard ‘more loudly than it has ever been before’.
She said she wanted a ‘modest’ increase in Government spending to ‘make life better for ordinary people across these islands’. She also backed Labour’s proposed tax rises.
- A ComRes poll for ITV News last night found the majority of the British public – 54 per cent – do not want Miss Sturgeon to play a role in the next government. Some 59 per cent do not want the SNP involved at all.
Spending spree wishlist... paid for by England!
The Scottish Nationalists yesterday listed their demands for propping up a minority Labour government. JAMES SLACK examines the consequences for the rest of the UK:
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is pictured launching the Scottish National Party manifesto at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena yesterday
DEMAND: The SNP’s key demand is an end to austerity. Cuts would be replaced with a minimum increase of 0.5 per cent above inflation for five years. NHS spending would rise by £24billion across the UK to deliver a £2billion increase in Scotland.
COST: The additional borrowing, which will fall overwhelmingly on English taxpayers, will be £148billion over five years, according to Treasury analysis.
DEMAND: The SNP wants a 50p top rate of tax, a mansion tax and a new tax on bank bonuses. This wish list is identical to Labour’s and would form the basis of any post-election deal. Ominously, the manifesto talks of releasing ‘additional resources by backing a series of revenue raising measures’.
COST: Even though Scotland has very few £2million-plus homes, the SNP still wants a large chunk of mansion tax proceeds to go north. Alex Salmond warns the SNP would try to amend a Labour budget to introduce ‘progressive tax measures’ that would further clobber the middle classes.
DEMAND: The SNP would end the convention under which its MPs do not vote on English-only matters in order to limit private sector involvement in the NHS, repeal Tory health reforms and help Labour force through tuition fee changes.
COST: The damage to the Union caused by Scottish Nationalists foisting policies on the English which have no impact on their constituents (the Scots NHS is Scottish-run) could be irreparable.
DEMAND: Reinstate subsidy paid to housing benefit recipients with a spare room. Increase handouts at least in line with the higher CPI rate of inflation. Scrap Universal Credit. Block plans to cut Disability Living Allowance by £3billion.
COST: Scrapping the spare room subsidy will cost £470million. Axing Universal Credit would reverse a reform intended to break the culture of welfare dependency that became entrenched under Labour.
DEMAND: Scrap Britain’s nuclear deterrent, saving £100billion over the next 35 years.
COST: Failing to renew Trident would leave Britain’s defences – and standing in the world – hugely diminished at a time of great global insecurity.
For all the bluster and denials, shared policies on tax and benefits provide the basis for a messy and hugely expensive deal between Labour and the SNP on a vote-by-vote basis. Key question is just how much extra borrowing Ed Miliband would be prepared to offer. Expect the markets to go into fright and the pound to slump.
FANCY THAT... A LEAPING SALMOND: FORMER SNP LEADER TAKES A JUMP
He may have been snubbed by his party for its manifesto launch but Alex Salmond has clearly been making an impression elsewhere during the campaign.
The former SNP leader, 60, still hopes to emerge as one of the most powerful figures at Westminster in the next Parliament and has been busily electioneering in Gordon – the Aberdeenshire seat he is favourite to prise from the Liberal Democrats.
And he gave his profile a boost by taking time out for this bizarre photo opportunity, which involved jumping up and down on a mattress in Port Elphinstone, Inverurie.
Mr Salmond was joined by teenager Lewis Wilson.
The oddly dressed 16-year-old had been planning a stunt leap on to the mattress from his bedroom window.
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond, 60, gave his profile a boost by taking time out for this bizarre photo opportunity, which involved jumping up and down on a mattress with a teenager in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire