LABOUR have been challenged on whether they would “rather let the Tories in” than work with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament.

Keir Starmer’s party is facing questions over its position ruling out any deals with the SNP if he fails to gain a majority after the next General Election, expected in autumn 2024.

The SNP believe they could be kingmakers in its aftermath – though Starmer says he would not deal with them because of their position on independence.

Philippa Whitford, the SNP’s Scotland spokesperson in Westminster, said she believed the Labour leader could U-turn on this, as he has on a number of other issues, echoing comments made by her Commons boss Stephen Flynn.

Speaking on the BBC’s Politics Live, Whitford said: “Well obviously, Keir in the last six months or so I would say, has ‘moved on’ which is the new term for U-turn, on many other things. So he says one thing now, he may say something different after the election.”

She added: “The message that Keir’s sending right now to the party that’s won the eight elections that have occurred since the Scottish referendum is, ‘Unless you Scots vote how we tell you, you will have no voice in this government, you will have no place to influence the UK Government’.

“That’s not really a great signal to send out to protect the so-called precious Union.”

READ MORE: Keir Starmer will U-turn on refusal to work with SNP, says Stephen Flynn

Asked whether Labour would ever deal with the SNP, Labour backbencher Emma Lewell-Buck said they would not and compared the SNP with the Conservatives, saying: “The new First Minister is coming up with solutions to solve problems that his party created. Rishi Sunak is trying to come up with solutions to create [sic] problems that his party created. Isn’t it time that we had someone else in Government, a Labour Government?”

Whitford hit back saying it was possible the LibDems may not fare as well at the next General Election as expecting, asking whether Labour would rather see the Conservatives cling onto power, rather than working with the SNP.

She said: “So he’d rather let the Tories into Number 10, if the LibDems don’t get enough to give him control of the house? He’d rather have the Tories in than even have any kind of relationship with the SNP, when we have some of the most progressive social policies in the UK, and therefore in a lot of things, social justice, there would be very little disagreement between us.”

Lewell-Buck responded: “But it goes back to that fundamental. I campaigned in the referendum to make sure the UK wasn’t broken up and that is something I feel incredibly strong about and a lot of Labour MPs do and a lot of people in the country do as well.

“If you remember, you didn’t get the result you wanted in the referendum, you keep banging on about it but you didn’t get the result you wanted.”

Whitford interrupted to ask whether the South Shields MP cared more about the Union than social justice – but was ignored.