Labour think tank skewers SNP over progressive alliance team-up as IndyRef2 non negotiable

Andrew Harrop discusses Labour's position on Indyref2

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General Secretary of the Fabian Society Andrew Harrop warned a proposed “progressive alliance” made up of Lib Dems, Greens and the SNP is less appealing to Labour despite what many think. Speaking to, Mr Harrop explained Labour would not consider working with the SNP in any public alliance as they do not wish to put the issue of Scottish Independence to the forefront of their agreement. He added opponents to the alliance could also “weaponise” it against Labour and called for more subtler ways for parties to work together.

Speaking to, Mr Harrop was asked his opinions on a proposed “progressive alliance” which would see left-leaning parties teaming up to take on the Conservatives. 

The alliance would likely see tactical campaigning and voting taking place to maximise election success for the parties involved as many fear Labour may not be able to beat the Conservatives on their own. 

Mr Harrop said: “There is also a particular issue about Labour’s relationship with the SNP who would likely be the third-largest party.

“Labour is not going to want to have the next general election or a referendum on the future of the Union.

“And it certainly isn’t going to want to be so mired in constant speculation as to whether they’d agree to another independence referendum in Scotland and what their line would be on that.

“So actually there are real issues about this idea, publicly saying how you’d work with other parties before an election, whatever might happen after an election.”

Labour MPs within the party are split on the move with backbencher Clive Lewis throwing his support behind the move. 

Following the Amersham by-election victory for the Liberal Democrats, leader Sir Ed Davey dismissed calls to work with Labour in any future alliance as he believed the victory signalled a revive of his part to “knock down the blue wall”. 

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While Mr Harrop said a formal alliance may not materialise or indeed be useful for parties involved, there have been historic cases of Labour working with the Liberal Democrats where they have promoted Lib Dem candidates who have a higher chance of winning a seat. 

Scottish Labour and the Conservatives have taken a pro-union stance against Scottish independence and have stood on manifestos opposing IndyRef2. 

Mr Harrop warned an alliance with the SNP could be “weaponised” by the Conservatives to turn voters away from them.

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The think tank leader added voters, without much influence, would quickly clock on to the alliance and may feel as if they are being manipulated.

He also told that the recent Batley and Spen by-election “drew a line” under a difficult period in Labour’s history following their Hartlepool by-election defeat in May. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was rumoured to have faced challenges to his leadership if the Batley and Spen by-election was lost.

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