Scotland politics

Scottish Labour's Jim Murphy says Tory-Labour coalition 'ludicrous'

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Media captionScottish Labour leader Jim Murphy rules out a Labour-Conservative coalition post the general election in May

The leader of the Scottish Labour Party has called the idea of a Conservative-Labour coalition "ludicrous".

Jim Murphy was responding to former Tory chairman Lord Baker's view that there could be a deal between the two rival parties after May's election.

However, the Labour MP has not ruled out some kind of deal with the SNP.

Mr Murphy told BBC political editor Brian Taylor that it was "disrespectful" to discuss political deals before the general election.

On the suggestion of his party entering into a Conservative arrangement in the event of a hung parliament, Mr Murphy was very clear.

He said: "We don't need lessons from Tory dinosaurs about how to run Scotland, what a ludicrous idea."

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Media captionPrime Minister David Cameron: "Even today, Ed Miliband will not rule out a deal or backing from the SNP"

Mr Murphy added that the differences between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party were bigger than "I have seen for a number of years".

Writing in The Independent, Lord Baker of Dorking said a Labour minority government reliant on the SNP would be a "nightmare" situation at Westminster.

He added that such an arrangement could "stretch the constitution of our country to breaking point".

However, the SNP said it was trusted more than Labour to keep the Tories out.

Asked if a deal with the nationalists was possible, Mr Murphy said he did not want to get into a "post-match analysis on an event that has not yet taken place".

He told Brian Taylor during a half-hour webcast: "As I say, if the SNP want to vote for our policies in the House of Commons, it's up to them - some time they have done that in recent times, quite often they have sided with the Tories against Labour."

Mr Murphy said he had no desire to focus on the "politics of pessimism" because he wanted his party to win government.

Image caption Lord Baker of Dorking said a Labour minority government reliant on the SNP would be a "nightmare"

The debate over coalition deals has arisen because polling suggests neither Labour nor the Conservatives would gain an overall majority in this year's election.

If that is the case a coalition deal with smaller parties could be possible or a so-called "confidence and supply" arrangement could be agreed whereby the smaller party supports the larger party in key votes.

During the webchat Mr Murphy was also asked about tuition fees, the Scottish independence referendum and his decision to fight his East Renfrewshire seat in May.

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