Labour not ruling out governing with SNP to get own Brexit deal through parliament, says Emily Thornberry

The possibility of Labour forming a minority government with the support of the Scottish National Party in order to get its own Brexit deal through parliament, has not been ruled out by Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry in an interview with ITV News.

Ahead of the meaningful vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal in the House of Commons on 11 December, Julie Etchingham asked Mrs Thornberry if the deal was voted down and that triggered a change in government, whether Labour would go into a minority government with SNP support.

"Anything, frankly at this moment is possible", Mrs Thornberry said.

"When there was talk of a minority government during the last general election, what we said was that we would run a minority government and we would put our Budget and we would say, 'you want to vote for it or don't you want to vote for it?,'" she said.

"But that wouldn't be a coalition - that would be a: 'this is who we are, this is who we stand for - you either vote for us or you don't'.

"If we're in a minority government...and frankly it will be up to the Nats [Scottish National Party] to say, 'oh, we didn't vote for Labour therefore the Tories have come back in again and let them face their electorate and face the consequences of that.'"

  • Watch Julie Etchingham's interview with Emily Thornberry in full in the latest episode of her digital series Ask A Woman below:

On whether Labour could rely on the support of the SNP, Mrs Thornberry said: "We would assume that the SNP would support us on a deal that we would be able to come back with.

"We would assume the Liberals would, we would assume that we would get that support.

"We would be able, I think, to come back with a deal which was being in a permanent customs union, being close to the single market and having a common rulebook [on standards and regulations]."

Asked whether Labour have discussed it with SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon, Mrs Thornberry said talks have taken place with other political parties and "I can't really go into the details".

But she added that should there be a general election, she believes Labour will win a majority.

Emily Thornberry was speaking to Julie Etchingham on the ITV News digital series Ask A Woman. Credit: ITV News

In a wide-ranging interview with Julie Etchingham on her ITV News digital series Ask A Woman, Mrs Thornberry said she:

  • Preferred a potential debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on the Brexit deal to be broadcast on ITV, as does the Labour leader. In contrast, Mrs May has accepted an offer to appear on a debate on the BBC

  • Doesn't believe the EU when it says the Brexit deal its negotiated with the UK is the only deal on the table, saying negotiations can be renegotiated if there is a change in government

  • Would call Donald Trump "an asteroid of awfulness" to his face, adding that "I don't like bullies"

On the possibility of a second referendum and if she would vote for Remain if it was on the ballot paper, Mrs Thornberry said: "If the referendum was as it was last time, which was Leave or Remain, I would vote Remain. Of course I would - I think we should stay in."

But asked how she would vote if another type of deal ended up on the ballot paper alongside Remain, Mrs Thornberry said: "Of course I'm a remainer, but I'm a remainer and a democrat. I'm not going to force our country to do something that our country doesn't want to do and that is why we had the original referendum."

The House of Commons will vote on the Brexit deal on 11 December after five days of debate, and two days after the proposed TV debate between the prime minister and Jeremy Corbyn.