Salmond Hints At Labour Vote Deal

19 December 2014, 07:26 | Updated: 19 December 2014, 07:27

Alex Salmond has hinted that the SNP would be prepared to set aside the convention that its MPs do not vote on laws that only affect England in order to support a minority Labour government at Westminster, according to a report.

The former Scottish First Minister reportedly made the suggestion in an interview with The Independent newspaper as he looked ahead to the general election in May and beyond.

Such an arrangement, which could see SNP MPs rethink their practice of abstaining in English-only legislation at Westminster, would be on a "vote by vote'' basis.

Mr Salmond pointed to two pieces of legislation not directly affecting Scotland which he opposed when he was was an MP, namely the introduction of foundation hospitals and tuition fees.

He told the newspaper: "There will be many things that come across the Westminster desk that would be of little moment to Scottish people, but will be of great moment to the government of the day.''

Mr Salmond said he would "lay odds'' on a balanced parliament, also known as a hung parliament, which occurs when no party secures an absolute majority of seats.

"That's an opportunity to have delivered to Scotland what we have been promised,'' he said.

Last month, Mr Salmond formally stepped down as SNP leader and First Minister following September's independence referendum result.

He announced earlier this month his bid to return to Westminster and was unveiled as a candidate for the SNP nomination for the Gordon constituency in Aberdeenshire.

Mr Salmond hopes to steal the seat from the Liberal Democrats, with current Lib Dem MP Sir Malcolm Bruce retiring in May.

The former first minister told the Independent that a "barrel-load'' of SNP MPs would win seats at the 2015 general election.

He added that the SNP's key objectives in any negotiations at Westminster after the election would be to ensure the UK's political leaders keep their pledge to transfer powers to Scotland.