Scotland politics

SNP conference: Minority Labour government 'would have to talk to SNP'

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Media captionStewart Hosie has warned Labour over being "high-handed and arrogant" on talking with the SNP

The deputy leader of the SNP believes a minority Labour government would have to negotiate with the nationalists ahead of its first Queen's speech.

Stewart Hosie told the BBC it would be "high-handed and arrogant" if talks did not take place.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said earlier this month there would not be a Labour/SNP coalition in the event of a hung parliament.

Voters throughout the UK will go to the polls on 7 May to choose their MPs.

Polls are suggesting no one party will win enough constituencies to form a government outright.

They are also suggesting that the SNP could win the majority of Scotland's 59 seats.

Currently Labour has 41, the Liberal Democrats have 11, the SNP holds six and the Conservatives have one.

What deal might be done after the result is known has been the subject of continued speculation.

After being pressed on the coalition question, Mr Miliband has now made it clear there would not be one with the SNP, but he has been less clear on other more informal options.

In the webcast, BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor asked Mr Hosie if his party believed there should be talks ahead of a minority government's Queen's Speech.

Mr Hosie, speaking ahead of his party's spring conference in Glasgow, said: "If Ed Miliband is seriously saying he could run a minority government without speaking to the SNP, if the polls are to be believed, that is a very dangerous tactic for him to take."

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Media captionIN FULL: SNP conference webcast with Deputy Leader Stewart Hosie

He added: "It would be high handed and arrogant for there not to be negotiations [between Labour and the SNP].

"We are talking about the will of the Scottish people - if they vote in a way perhaps the polls are suggesting where the SNP has had a substantial lead over Labour for six months, where UK polls are suggesting a hung parliament, with the SNP in a pivotal position.

"If Ed Miliband is seriously saying he would discount the wishes of the Scottish people, he would discount the wishes of the 70% in Scotland who think an SNP/Labour deal is the most favourable outcome - I think that is a very, very high risk strategy for the British Labour Party."

Tory 'scare-mongering'

In a speech earlier in the month, Mr Miliband said there were "big differences" between Labour the SNP.

He added that there would be no SNP ministers in "any government I lead", claiming such talk was "scare-mongering" by his Conservative opponents.

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was "despicable" that Mr Miliband had not ruled out a post-election deal with the SNP and has goaded the opposition leader about being former nationalist leader Alex Salmond's "poodle".

During his BBC webcast - which is based on reader questions - Mr Hosie was asked about who leads the SNP - Nicola Sturgeon or Mr Salmond.

He replied: "Nicola Sturgeon is leader of the Scottish National Party, I am the deputy leader of the Scottish National Party and Angus Robertson is leader of the Westminster group.

"While we all very much hope and expect Alex Salmond to be returned to Westminster, Nicola Sturgeon leads the party."

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