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Scottish National Party’s Yousaf: I would do deal with Labour Party

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LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf said on Sunday his Scottish National Party (SNP) would be willing to do a deal with the Labour Party if a British national election expected next year resulted in a hung parliament.

The top ask on the SNP’s list would be a second Scottish independence referendum, Yousaf told the BBC, but declined to say if that would ultimately be a deal breaker.

The opposition Labour Party has a roughly 16-point lead over the governing Conservatives in opinion polls ahead of an election which must be held by early 2025.

Asked what he would say to Labour leader Keir Starmer if an election left Labour as the biggest party but without a majority, Yousaf said: “I’m prepared to do a deal with you because I want to see the back of the Tories (Conservatives), so I will work with any party frankly that is progressive to see the back of the Tories.”

“The price of course, the top of that list, would be to have an independence referendum.”

Asked if a referendum would be a deal breaker, he said he would not get into a public negotiation now.

Yousaf became first minister and SNP leader earlier this year, replacing Nicola Sturgeon whose unexpected exit left a question mark over the SNP’s fight for independence.

The Westminster government has blocked SNP attempts to hold a second vote after a 2014 referendum in which Scotland voted 55% to 45% to remain part of the United Kingdom.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Sharon Singleton)

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