Ex-civil service chief hints at Labour’s negotiation plans in hung parliament

Written by Kevin Schofield and Richard Johnstone on 26 November 2019 in News
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Lord Kerslake says possible second referendum Scottish independence will be among the areas discussed

Photo: Parliament TV

A second referendum on Scottish independence will be among the areas for Labour’s discussion in any negotiations with other parties if there is another hung Parliament, according to the former head of the civil service Lord Kerlske, who is now one of party’s top advisers.

The crossbench peer, who was head of the civil service from 2011 to 2014 – also acknowledged that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's position would be up for discussion in any negotiations with other parties, as the Lib Dems had made it clear that they would not support a Labour-led government if Corbyn remained in charge.

Since leaving the civil service, Kerslake has worked closely with the Labour party, including preparing implementation plans for its key polices, after undertaking a review of the Treasury for shadow chancellor John McDonnell.


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Speaking to Sky News, Kerslake said that Labour will have "won" the election if they deprive the Conservatives of a Commons majority.

In those circumstances, he said, Labour would have to win the support of other opposition parties in order to form a minority government.

He said: "We don’t yet know in truth how that would play out, although the Liberal Democrats have said they could not support a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government and the SNP have said they would want a second referendum.

"All of that would form part of the conversation that Labour would be having informally with those two parties."

A Labour spokesperson insisted that neither Corbyn's future or a second independence referendum would be "on the table" in any post-election talks.

Lord Kerslake's intervention came as a new opinion poll showed the Conservatives' lead over Labour had been cut to just seven points, increasing the chances of another hung parliament.

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Kevin Schofield and Richard Johnstone
About the author

Kevin Schofield is the editor of PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared. He tweets @PolHomeEditor.

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd

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