Assume that Labour and the SNP collectively hold enough seats to form a majority.

If Labour can make the assumption that the SNP will, of their own accord, choose not to bring down a Labour government then do they lose anything by not having a formal confidence and supply arrangement? Given the blame that would be heaped upon the SNP if their action or inaction were to bring about a Tory government, Labour can draw a fairly safe conclusion that the SNP will vote in exactly the way they would if a formal C&S agreement were in place (i.e. they will vote for Labour's Queen's speech and help pass its budgets). This could be understood as a kind of tacit agreement based on the bargaining position and self-interest of both parties.

Am I misunderstanding something?

  • You're relying on a sanity and rationality of humans? Politicians, natch? What are you, an economist? :)
    – user4012
    May 4, 2015 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


Let me answer the question in the title. The significance is that Labour understand that some of the English population are scared that a vote for Labour will effectively be a vote for the SNP. This is because it seems that any Labour government will need the support of the SNP to get a majority. As a result, Labour needs to separate themselves as much as possible from the SNP to neutralize this possible attack from their political opponents.

I am not sure it has much significance beyond that.

  • That's what I thought. The affectation of the Labour party to be dismissing the SNP is more significant than any practical import of doing so. I also came across the following (blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/…), which suggests that confidence and supply is not needed to govern under the Fixed Term Parliament Act. May 6, 2015 at 8:25
  • The further question is: why should the English electorate prefer Labour to rule out a deal with the SNP rather than simply stating their actual strategy, i.e. to expect some deals to be made but point out the weakness of the SNP's bargaining position? I guess by that point it may be too complex (although it is fairly straightforward) to fit into a soundbite! May 6, 2015 at 8:30
  • I think the problem is more the Tory press sound bites they would get in return.
    – Simd
    May 6, 2015 at 8:32
  • Looking back this seem to have been a factor in way labor lost, as lots of people in England where not willing to risk having the SNP interfering with our government. Mar 22, 2016 at 11:41

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