Miliband rules out confidence and supply deal with SNP
Ed Miliband has given his clearest indication yet he will not come to any agreement with the SNP by explicitly ruling out a confidence-and-supply agreement.
Asked repeatedly about whether he would be prepared to accept SNP support on a minority Labour government's Budgets and in confidence votes, potentially in return for concessions to nationalist demands, the Labour leader told Andrew Marr: "No, that's not going to happen."
It's taken us some time to get to this statement. The first inklings that Labour would reject any kind of accommodation with the SNP came around seven days ago. By midweek Miliband was ruling out "deals", but it remained ambiguous as to whether he was referring to a Labour-SNP coalition.
Now Miliband has finally ruled out any kind of confidence-and-supply agreement for good, saying: "No deals. Yeah, of any kind."
That paves the way for Miliband to call the SNP's bluff by defying them to vote against him and instead back the Conservatives – a move Nicola Sturgeon has already ruled out.
Miliband offered two comments which offered insight into how he anticipates the dynamic of the next parliament will work.
"The way the House of Commons works is that we want to put our Queen's Speech before the House of Commons and other parties will vote," he said.
Later in the interview he offered a variation of that theme, adding: "The way the House of Commons works is that parties will decide the way they vote on the proposals that we put forward."
His comments came after London mayor Boris Johnson appeared on the same programme warning that any kind of Labour government propped up by the SNP would be "deeply alarming" to many in Britain.
The Conservatives will now be under pressure to modify their warnings against the possibility of Labour and the SNP working together.
"If there's a Labour government it will be a Labour Queen's Speech, a Labour Budget, it's not going to be written by the SNP. I couldn't be clearer," Miliband said.
"The Conservatives are so desperate they're reduced to trying to set one part of the country against another… they've given up on the central issues of this campaign."