A MINORITY Labour government with SNP support is currently the “central forecast” for the result of the next General Election, according to one polling expert.

With polls picking up a swing towards Labour in England, a likely scenario in 2024 would be Labour falling short of a majority and requiring support from Nicola Sturgeon’s party to form a government.

The latest projection puts Labour 15 MPs short of forming a majority government – meaning Keir Starmer would be forced to turn towards the SNP’s dozens of representatives to produce a functioning government, potentially through a confidence and supply process (the kind shared by Theresa May’s Tories and the DUP).

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According to Martin Baxter, the founder of Electoral Calculus, this is good news for independence supporters – as it’s expected that the cost for Starmer getting the keys to Number 10 would be granting a second independence referendum.

"We'd probably be looking at a Labour minority government that might be supported by the LibDems if they're lucky. But it would probably be more likely to lead to SNP support. And obviously, the price of that SNP support would probably be a second independence referendum,” he told The Telegraph.

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But there is still some time to go before the next General Election, Baxter warned.

"Politics has been changing quite quickly in the last two years, so we will have to wait and see.”

If Nicola Sturgeon's proposals go to plan, the Scottish Government will hold indyref2 in 2023. However, Boris Johnson has previously rejected granting a Section 30 order to let this go ahead with Westminster's permission, arguing that the 2014 ballot was "once in a generation". 

The row is likely to end up in the courts if Holyrood pushes ahead with holding a new vote. 

Just days ago, Labour chief Starmer ruled out working with the SNP at any level of government.

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

“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.”

Meanwhile, the poll providing this prediction shows that Boris Johnson’s Tories are on track for a poor council election result across England and Wales as more than 800 of their seats could be lost.

A survey from Electoral Calculus and Find Out Now, carried out before this week’s partygate fine news, predicts a 5% swing from the Tories to Labour at the upcoming local ballots.

More than 12,000 people were asked about their May 5 voting intention between April 4 and 8. The pollsters found the Tories are likely to see their wards fall from 1965 to 1155.

The poll found Labour would gain a similar number, taking them to 3722 wards across England and Wales.

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The research also provides positive news for pro-Welsh-independence party Plaid Cymru, who are expected to gain 64 council seats, taking them to a total of 190.

The LibDems are expected to lose 13 council seats.

Baxter suggested losing 800 council seats would not be a major issue for the Tories.

The analyst said: "If the actual results are similar to our predictions, then Boris Johnson will be spared new backbench pressure to unseat him.

"Although the Conservatives will lose some ground in these local elections, it doesn't look like a catastrophic defeat and that is a good result for them after their poor poll ratings post-'partygate'."