Hughes confirms Lib Dem PR goal

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Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes has given the clearest indication yet that a referendum on PR….

Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes has given the clearest indication yet that a referendum on PR will be a non negotiable component of any alliance between his party and the Conservatives.  However the MP for Bermondsey also stated that the economy was the number one issue at this time.

This may have been an indication that the Lib Dems are considering a loose partnership with the Conservatives initially in order to address the economic mess but that a referendum on PR will be the price for any future formal alliance.

Lib Dems treasury spokesman Vince Cable has described talks thus far as “constructive” – the talks will continue at 11:00 AM today [Sunday].

Meanwhile Labour in Scotland continued to spurn any suggestions of cooperation with the SNP in an attempt at thwarting a Westminster Conservative government.  Jim Murphy and Iain Gray have instead taken Thursday’s election result as a mandate for targeting the SNP at Holyrood.

The Sunday Mail this morning are reporting that Gray and Murphy have turned their attention from Westminster to Holyrood and are now focussing on the Scottish parliamentary elections to be held on May 5th next year.

Jim Murphy said:
“Labour is on the march in Scotland with a million Scots behind us. There is now a really strong chance that Labour can win the Scottish elections a year from now.”

Iain Gray added:
“Voters sent a strong message to Alex Salmond.  He does not have a mandate to speak for Scotland.”

Thursday’s election result saw Labour poll around 1 million Scottish votes with the SNP around half a million.  The FPTP system awarded Labour 41 seats and the SNP 6.

It is understood that Iain Gray will chair Scottish Labour’s Holyrood election committee.  The committee will be made up of MSPs John Park and Paul Martin, MPs Jim Murphy and Frank Roy and Scottish Labour’s general secretary Colin Smyth.

A spokesman for the SNP said:
“We are looking forward enormously to the next Holyrood election.

“The most recent poll shows the SNP three points ahead of Labour.”

John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University pointed out that people were more likely to vote for the SNP at Holyrood than at Westminster

The last opinion poll showed the SNP on course to achieve a narrow win at Holyrood. 

There will be questions raised over Labour’s timing of their Holyrood intentions given that the Westminster situation is still in a state of flux.

Time will tell if the apparent refusal of Gray and Murphy to target the Tories in the days following this historic election result, and instead launch attacks on the SNP, is a strategic blunder.