North East voters got their first real glimpse at a future Coalition deal during TV debate

Ed Miliband maintains he'll get a majority while Nicola Sturgeon's SNP offers up her party to Labour, as does Plaid Cymru

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire Labour Party leader Ed Miiband looks on as Plaid Cymru Party leader Leanne Wood and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon embrace after the BBC Challengers' Election Debate
Labour Party leader Ed Miiband looks on as Plaid Cymru Party leader Leanne Wood and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon embrace after the BBC Challengers' Election Debate

Voters in the North East got their first real glimpse of a future Government last night as parties offered themselves up to form a Coalition during a live TV debate.

While Ed Miliband maintained Labour will win an outright majority at the General Election on May 7, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP offered up her party for a future partnership, as did Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru.

During the hour and a half BBC One live challengers debate, the third TV event of its kind in the run up to the 2015 election, UKIP’s Nigel Farage essentially courted the Conservative party by claiming he would only work alongside a party that offered a referendum on Europe, as the Tories have already promised.

In a heated debate Ed Miliband said he expects to get a majority Government when voters head to the polls on May 7, and would not enter into Coalition with the SNP, highlighting the nationalists plan to hold another Scottish referendum within five years.

He said: “We have profound differences with SNP, we are not going to have a Coalition with the SNP.”

However Nicola Sturgeon positioned herself as Labour’s only feasible crutch should they fail to win enough seats and said Mr Miliband would be foolish to turn his back on a chance to kick-out the Tories.

Laying out her cards on the table against an alliance with the Tories, she said: “I will never, ever do a deal with the Tories.

“I will work with Labour, Greens and Plaid Cymru. I’m prepared to work with Ed to replace the Tories.

“Whatever difference you have with me Ed, surely that’s nothing compared to the difference that both of us have with the Tories.”

However the Labour leader spurned all Coalition discussion and said SNP were the party to break up Britain.

Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru made no apologies for focusing on her Welsh audience and policies that serve the needs of her country, finishing her statement by speaking in Welsh.

The anti-austerity champion said: “I want to bring an end to this Tory Government. Progressives on the stage can work together to achieve that.”

She said she would not prop up a Conservative Government but nor would she support a Labour Government unless it shifted away from what she considers to be right-wing policies.

She also said a hung parliament would be a “golden opportunity” to address Wales’ funding to bring it into parity with Scotland.

However Natalie Bennett’s Green Party weren’t as charitable to Labour.

She said they would “do nothing to prop up a Tory Government in anyway at all” but nor would they prop up Labour as it stands unless it develops more progressive politics.

She said: “We would work with Ed on a vote-by-vote basis.”

Nigel Farage for UKIP says the election so far has been a farce.

“They are trying to bribe you with borrowed money,” he told the audience.

He said their fully costed budget, which had been verified by a think tank, would achieve huge savings by cutting the “bloated overseas foreign aid budget”.

He also discussed his party’s policy of an Australian style points system to control immigration.

He said: “I’m saying what a lot of you at home are thinking.”

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