Prime Minister David Cameron dubbed as a ‘coalition of chaos’ the widely expected possibility of Labour and Scottish National Party (SNP) joining hands after the May 7 elections, but stayed away from a live television debate with five other leaders on Thursday night.
In another US-style TV debate, contours of at least one post-election scenario emerged.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon – fast emerging as a major voice in UK-wide elections – offered to help Labour ‘kick out the Tories out of Downing Street’.
Besides SNP, leaders of two other parties – Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru and Natalie Bennett of Green party – set out positions closer to Labour, potentially supporting a Labour-led coalition or supporting Labour from the outside. Both parties are expected to win some seats.
Cameron, who agreed to appear in only one TV debate (on March 26), called the potential Labour-SNP coalition a ‘coalition of chaos’ and warned that such a coalition would raise taxes.
On his part, Labour leader Ed Miliband ruled out a coalition with SNP but stopped short of ruling out accepting its support from outside. There is much apprehension in England of the possibility of SNP with 40-odd MPs ‘wagging the English dog’.
Miliband claimed that instead of going into a coalition, his party would achieve outright majority. “I couldn’t have been clearer about this. We are not going to have a coalition. How other parties end up voting on a Labour Queen’s speech is frankly going to be a matter for them”.
Miliband went on to attack Cameron, saying the latter did not have the ‘guts’ to debate with him one-to-one on TV: “He wants to duck, weave and dive his way back into Downing Street. If he had guts, he would come out and accept my challenge to debate.”