More trouble for Labour at Holyrood:
THE Scottish Liberal Democrats are preparing to ditch Jack McConnell as First Minister by declining to enter a coalition with Labour after next year’s Holyrood election.
LibDem leader Nicol Stephen wants to loosen ties with Labour by changing the party’s policy of automatically negotiating with the largest group in the Scottish parliament.
Senior strategists say Nicol does not want to share office with a party “on the way down” and would prefer to keep his options open on a three-way coalition with the SNP and Greens. (Sunday Herald)
This could be significant for the Labour leadership issue at Westminster, as there have already been suggestions that the new leader should be in place before the Scottish and Welsh elections.
If Blair hangs on, Labour’s internal divisions could boost the SNP, not least because of the Scottish reaction to the possibility of a Conservative victory at the next Westminster election.
That could leave Brown facing a referendum on Scottish independence as the first item in his in-tray.