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Election 2015: David Cameron playing ‘fast and loose’ with UK, says Ed Miliband

30Ed Miliband today accused David Cameron of “playing fast and loose” with the United Kingdom, as senior Labour figures began speaking openly of post-election talks with Nicola Sturgeon.
David Lammy, who is bidding to be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, was among the figures who spoke of a “common alliance” and holding talks on “common ground” between the two parties after May 7.
Labour’s leader ruled out a full coalition — but left the door wide open to an informal pact, provided Ms Sturgeon does not demand a second independence referendum.
Ex-prime minister John Major intervened with a warning that a Labour-SNP cocktail would provide “weak and un-stable” government, saying: “We would all pay for the SNP’s ransom in our daily lives — through higher taxes, fewer jobs and more debt.” But cracks appeared in Tory ranks as former Scottish secretary Lord Forsyth criticised Mr Cameron’s campaign to talk up the dangers to the economy of Ms Sturgeon having the whip-hand over a Labour government. The peer said it was “short- termist” and dangerous to the UK to encourage SNP victories over Labour.
This gave Mr Miliband an opening to hit back at the Tory leader for “playing games”. He said: “I think David Cameron is now threatening the integrity of the United Kingdom with the games he is playing and I think Conservatives are now ashamed of what he is doing.”
He added: “He shouldn’t be talking up a nationalist party … to try to crawl back into Downing Street.”
However, Labour MPs are resigned to the prospect of having to deal with Ms Sturgeon if they want to get into power after May 7. Mr Lammy told ITV News: “Clearly, after the general election, you would forge common alliance with parties you can actually do business with, and the SNP must be part of that story.
“Yes, there is common ground with other parties, and the SNP would be included in that and we may need to enter into discussion after the general election.” With the latest polls saying just three of Labour’s 41 MPs in Scotland will survive, senior shadow ministers have given up hope of forming a majority government, which would require up to 100 gains in England to compensate for the losses north of the border.
But some believe Mr Miliband can govern as a minority leader by challenging bitter rival Ms Sturgeon to back him on key confidence and tax votes or risk letting the Tories back into power. “She does not have the whip over us because she can’t be seen to bring us down and let the Tories in,” said a senior MP.
Mr Miliband spoke of “fundamental disagreements between me and the SNP”, adding: “They want a second referendum on independence… in the next five years; I’m not having that.”
He said Mr Cameron had been “talking up” the SNP in the hope it would take seats from Labour: “I think David Cameron is playing fast and loose with the United Kingdom. This is somebody who has given up hope of winning a majority. He is trying to boost the SNP.” But ex-foreign secretary William Hague said: “We have to point out the dangers.”
Ms Sturgeon made clear at her manifesto launch that voting SNP would not be a vote for a second referendum. The document was close to Labour’s on several major issues, such as taxation of the wealthy. She has said the SNP will act “responsibly and constructively” in the interests of the whole of the UK.