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Labour MEP calls for coalition with SNP at Holyrood

David Martin says 'groundwork' for such a deal should begin in earnest.

Labour: Holyrood has not been governed by the party since 2007.
Labour: Holyrood has not been governed by the party since 2007. PA

A Scottish Labour MEP has called for his party and the SNP to begin working towards agreeing a coalition deal at the next Holyrood election.

David Martin, who has served in the European Parliament since 1984, said such a deal will be viewed as "unthinkable" to many voters but both sides can work together.

The SNP currently govern the country as a minority administration, meaning they have to win support from opposition parties to pass individual pieces of legislation.

A spokesman for the SNP said: "While we are always open to cooperating with other parties based on shared values, Labour remain obsessed with attacking the SNP instead of standing up to the Tories and their disastrous plans for an extreme Brexit."

For the first eight years of legislative devolution, Scotland was governed by a formal coalition between the Liberal Democrats and Labour.

In an interview with the Herald, Martin said: "We are far away from the next Holyrood elections, but I think the groundwork should be being laid now for a potential SNP-Labour coalition that to many will seem unthinkable.

"There are signals, very weak signals, the real hate - and it was hate - between Labour and the SNP is beginning to weaken.

"I would not quite say there is a rapprochement but there is more possibility of cooperation and working together than there has been in a long time.

"Being on the same side in the Brexit referendum has helped that."

Both parties currently govern five of Scotland's councils in formal coalitions including the nation's capital, Edinburgh.

But such a deal to form a national devolved government still remains unlikely despite Martin's support for such a move.

A spokesman for Scottish Labour said: "We do not support a deal, pact or coalition with the SNP - we plan on replacing the Nationalists as the next Scottish government."

The next election to the Scottish Parliament is not scheduled to take place until 2021.

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