Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has emphatically ruled out a coalition with the SNP at local and national level.

Speaking during a visit to Glasgow with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on Tuesday, the Labour leader reiterated his aversion to any deals in the next general election, but also stressed there would be no coalitions following the council elections in May.

The comments come after Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow City Council and one of the SNP’s most prominent figures at a local level, said she would be open to a deal with Labour.

“No coalition,” Sir Keir told journalists.

Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar
Sir Keir Starmer was speaking during a visit to Glasgow with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar (John Linton/PA)

“No coalition between Labour and the SNP at the local level, at the national level.

“Let me be absolutely clear, no deal going into the general election – I say that now, possibly a year or two out from the general election – and no deal on the other side of the general election.

“I could not be clearer about this and I hope that nobody has missed my very clear message on this – no deal into a general election, no deal out of a general election, full stop.”

Mr Sarwar, who was answering questions alongside the UK Labour leader, added: “The whole point is that we want Susan Aitken out of the leader’s office in the city chambers, not to keep her in.

“She’s a disaster for Glasgow, the SNP are a disaster for Glasgow and we want to boot them out.”

Speaking to The Herald, Ms Aitken said on Monday: “Anas Sarwar has said Labour won’t do any deals with the SNP. I think that is very foolish I’ve got to say.

“There are some pretty well functioning SNP and Labour administrations, Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, Stirling, Dumfries and Galloway, Fife. There’s quite a few of them.”

She added: “If our Labour colleagues were up for something constructive, mature conversations about how we move forward for the good of the city, then we would be happy to have those conversations with them too. Whether they are in that space or not, I’m not sure. It’s up to them.”

While the SNP group leader admitted it was “pretty unlikely” a deal could be struck between her party and Labour, she said she “wouldn’t rule anything out”.

Responding to Sir Keir’s comments, SNP MSP Audrey Nicoll said: “It is very revealing that Labour would rather see the Tories in power than work with the SNP to keep them out of power.

“Of course, Labour were even happy to go into coalition with the Tories in Aberdeen – so it is very clear where their real sympathies lie.

“SNP councillors are open to working with councillors from other parties on progressive policies for the benefit of their communities – and it’s only by voting SNP on May 5 that people across Scotland will get councillors who will stand up to the Tory policies leaving hundreds of thousands of Scots struggling with their daily lives.”