Carwyn Jones has refused to rule out attempting to strike a bargain with Leanne Wood’s Plaid Cymru in the aftermath of next year’s Welsh elections.
Wales Online reportedly sought to clarify Welsh Labour’s position following Ed Miliband’s stated refusal to cooperate with separatist parties (saving the SDLP) in Westminster, due to their opposition to the UK.
From 2007 to 2011, the nationalists were the junior partner in the Labour-led administration, dubbed the ‘One Wales’ coalition, an arrangement approved by Labour with 78 per cent approval.
Plaid have accused Labour of being backed into a corner by the ‘Tory press’, and warn that it will do long-term damage to the party’s electoral prospects. PPC Jonathan Edwards described as “perverse” Lab-Nat alliance of the “progressive left”.
The BBC reports that just the day before Wood had denounced Labour as “arrogant” for presuming it would have the support of her MPs in a hung parliament.
Just as with the SNP, Labour have been arguing that Plaid would not vote against a Labour government and let the Conservatives in ‘by the back door’. Owen Smith, the Shadow Welsh Secretary, described such a scenario as “unthinkable”.
However, the nationalist leader alleges that if Labour want her support they must take on board Plaid’s criticisms, and likely shift substantially to the left.
…as Northern Irish Labour denounce bar on standing for election
The News Letter carries the story of a member of the Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI), explaining the electorate why they do not have the ability to vote for one of the parties most likely to form the British government next week.
Eric Harvey reports of a decision by Labour’s National Executive Committee in 2013 to prohibit the local branch – which was permitted to organise in 2003 only after threatening union-backed legal action – to contest elections on any level in the province.
He attributes this both to the London party’s wariness of aggravating Labour’s ‘Irish vote’ on the mainland and its alliance to the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The SDLP returned three MPs in 2010 and it tends to vote with Labour at Westminster.
However, Harvey points out that the SDLP is a separatist, sectarian party with little to no support amongst Northern Ireland’s Protestant community.
Unlike the Conservatives, who have struggled to break through in Northern Ireland despite a willing centre, Labour have a relatively healthy Ulster organisation that party HQ seems desperate to be rid of.
If it did stand, it is quite possible that Lady Sylvia Hermon, the left-wing Independent Unionist MP for North Down, would stand (and even win) under Labour’s colours.
SNP suspend members for harassing Murphy in Glasgow
The Scotsman reports that the Scottish Nationalists have suspended two members who were involved in anti-Labour protests on Monday.
Separatist activists engaged in an angry confrontation with Jim Murphy and Eddie Izzard, the comedian and prominent unionist, in Glasgow on Monday. The Scottish Labour leader later denounced what he considered to be deliberate tactics of intimidation.
One of the members suspended had previous form for harassing former Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray during the 2011 Scottish elections.
Labour as accused the SNP of deliberately tipping off what the Daily Mail describes as “a mob of nationalist campaigners”.
This is the latest incident in what appears to be a pattern of threatening and aggressive behaviour by elements of the SNP grassroots. Labour politicians have been ‘hunted’ whilst canvassing and a swing voter who endorsed Murphy harassed into retraction.
DUP call for ‘UK-wide’ unionist fightback as UUP fight to re-enter Westminster
Peter Robinson, the First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, has declared that a pan-UK convention on the Union will be one of his party’s red lines during any negotiations in a hung parliament.
He claims that this would seek to address the constitutional needs both of the home nations and the English regions. The plan accompanied a call to arms wherein Robinson urged voters to fight off a “UK-wide threat to the Union”.
Citing the fact that the various separatist parties would undoubtedly cooperate, and undoubtedly pitching to stay-at-home unionists in key seats like Belfast East, the First Minister stressed that “every pro-Union MP will count in the next Parliament”.
He will also be attempting to bleed support away from the rival Ulster Unionist Party, who are fighting hard to regain a foothold in Parliament. The once-dominant unionist party lost its last Westminster reputation when Lady Hermon resigned the UUP whip following its alliance with the Conservatives for the last general election.
Despite having struck a non-compete pact in four of the province’s 18 constituencies the UUP are reportedly running the DUP hard in one or two others, particularly Upper Bann where the party are fielding the charismatic Jo-Anne Dobson.
However, the DUP warn that splitting the ‘unionist vote’ could allow Sinn Fein to snatch the constituency from a divided opposition. Local polling appears to suggest a close-fought three-horse race with the republicans in second place.
In 2011 Sinn Fein topped the poll in the constituency, just 29 votes ahead of the DUP.