Scotland politics

Jim Murphy says Labour 'doesn't want' a post-election deal with SNP

Jim Murphy Image copyright PA
Image caption Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy says his party is planning fro a majority in May's election

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said his party "does not want" a coalition with the SNP if it fails to win a majority at the general election.

After becoming the new leader of the SNP in October last year, Nicola Sturgeon predicted that her party would hold the "balance of power".

Polls have suggested Scottish Labour will lose seats to the Nationalists.

Mr Murphy told BBC Radio Scotland that his party was not planning for a Labour/SNP deal.

However, UK Labour leader Ed Miliband has not directly ruled out post-election talks with the SNP.

During an appearance on the Andrew Marr show he was asked repeatedly if he would enter into an agreement with Ms Sturgeon.

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Media captionLabour's Jim Murphy tells the BBC he has "never" been a Unionist and that his party "does not want" a post-election deal with the SNP.

Mr Miliband said a majority government was "what was needed" for the country but he did not reject the suggestion there could be a vote-sharing deal with the pro-Scottish independence party.

Separately, Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale has said she would have "no qualms whatsoever" about working with the SNP, prompting Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Ms Davidson to claim the SNP and Labour were "already halfway down the aisle" to forming a new government.

Mr Murphy was asked about the future role of the SNP in Westminster politics in the latest of a series of pre-election interviews with Scottish party leaders on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme.

The MP said: "We are planning for a Labour majority. We are going to go out and try to hold all the seats we have in Scotland and ensure that we get rid of David Cameron.

"The fact is that nothing in life do you plan to lose, or come second. Even when my football team is plating Barcelona I don't always accept that coming second - and David Cameron aint no Lionel Messi, so I think we can beat him.

"I am confident that we can win and as I said we are not planning, expecting or wanting a coalition - we want to win that election."

Party pitches

Scotland's party leaders have been setting out their UK election prospects in a series of BBC interviews.

Mr Murphy has set his sights on winning the votes of Scottish independence supporters at the general election, insisting Labour's temporary alignment with the Tories and the Liberal Democrats under the "Better Together" banner during the referendum campaign was over.

He told the BBC that he had "never been" a unionist.

Mr Murphy explained: "There are different political traditions in Scotland.

"There is a tradition which immigrants bring to the country. There is tradition based upon class, on geography.

Image caption Labour leader Ed Miliband said majority government was "what was needed"

"And the fact is that in September last year different political traditions found a common purpose. I respect traditional unionism - it's just not my political background."

He went on: "What we had was the Conservative and Unionist Party and the Labour and trade union movement and the majority of people in those two organisations from a different political history came together in one day in September."

He added: "That was last year's alliance - last year was about Scotland's constitutional future, this year is whether we want David Cameron to stay in Downing Street."

Westminster seat

Elsewhere, the MP would not be drawn on whether he would stand again for his Westminster constituency seat of East Renfrewshire at May's election.

Mr Murphy, who will need to become an MSP in the 2016 Scottish election, said the first people to find out about his intentions to stand again would be his constituents.

The SNP's Sandra White said she was not surprised that Mr Murphy was "desperate" to rewrite history and try to "distance himself" from the Tories.

She added that "if it walks like a unionist and talks like a unionist, it is a unionist - and Jim Murphy will never sound like anything else".

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