Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Unionist coalition’ with Tories gets ‘red card’ from Labour leadership hopefuls

Post Thumbnail

Anas Sarwar and Monica Lennon have both ruled out joining a “unionist coalition” after Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said he is willing to work with other parties to take on the SNP.

Mr Sarwar and Ms Lennon, who will face off to become Scottish Labour leader after nominations closed on Tuesday, declined an offer from the Tory boss to work together ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

unionist coalition
Anas Sarwar.

Former Labour leader Richard Leonard, who resigned from the post last week following months of speculation about his future, refused to work with the Conservatives on previous campaigns.

‘No, I won’t’

Mr Ross said on Tuesday he would be willing to be part of a coalition to take on the SNP and halt the push towards a second referendum on Scottish independence.

He said on Twitter: “If it means stopping the SNP and their push for indyref2, I would be part of a unionist coalition. The last Scottish Labour leader wouldn’t work with us. Will you @AnasSarwar @MonicaLennon7?”

Mr Sarwar was the first to decline the offer and said he would instead focus on rebuilding the country.

He said: “No, I won’t. A quarter of Scottish kids are growing up in poverty while you and the SNP divide our country.

“Instead I will focus on bringing people together and rebuilding our country – not a return to the divisive politics of old.”

Ms Lennon responded to the offer from Mr Ross, who has a second job as a professional football referee, just minutes later and said while it was “very flattering”, it would be a “red card” from her.

She added: “See you on the campaign trail where we’ll be fighting for radical social and economic change, not a political agenda that looks after the wealthy few.”

‘My priority is Scotland’

The two Scottish Labour leadership hopefuls have vowed they will make decisions independent of the UK party.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, they both said their focus would be on rebuilding the country by making decisions independent of Sir Keir Starmer.

Ms Lennon said: “My priority is Scotland and Scottish Labour’s role in reforming Scotland and making Scotland a fairer country.

“I’m not obsessed about party structure but do think the party needs reform.

unionist coalition
Labour MSP Monica Lennon.

“We are going through a pandemic, the country is in turmoil and we have got a job to do across the Labour and trade union movement.

“Ultimately, this is a job that I’m applying for in Scotland, to lead the Scottish Labour Party.”

Mr Sarwar said: “I will respect Keir Starmer, I will support Keir Starmer in helping him to become prime minister across the UK, but I will be my own person and I will do what is right for Scotland, and I will not be afraid to tell him and my colleagues in Westminster when I think they are getting it wrong.

“I will always put Scotland first.”

Nicola Sturgeon indyref2

Both candidates reiterated their opposition to a second independence referendum in the near future, saying they would rather focus on rebuilding the country after the coronavirus outbreak.

Ms Lennon has previously said she is not opposed to another ballot, telling the broadcaster on Tuesday: “I’m not against democracy.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal Scottish politics team

More from the Press and Journal