Former FM returns

Salmond launches new Alba party to fight election

Return to frontline politics for Alex Salmond

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond is launching a pro-independence party which will contest seats in the Scottish Parliament election.

Mr Salmond, who last sat as an MSP in 2015 prior to his election to Westminster, said he expected the party to field at least four candidates in the regional lists in every part of the country.

Mr Salmond claimed that if Alba won regional list seats, this could lead to there being 90 or more MSPs at Holyrood who support independence.

His move will be seen as having a potentially damaging affect on the SNP’s vote. Others say it will harden the case for independence and he has claimed it will create a “super-majority”.

It follows another tumultuous week at Holyrood which included Mr Salmond’s declared intention to take fresh legal action over the conduct of the Scottish government’s top civil servant, the Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans.

A report by MSPs on Tuesday described the government’s handling of harassment complaints against Mr Salmond as “seriously flawed”.

The previous day, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was cleared of breaching the ministerial code over her involvement in the Alex Salmond saga.

The SNP issued a robust dismissal of Mr Salmond’s plans. A spokesperson said: “This is perhaps the most predictable development in Scottish politics for quite some time.

“At this time of crisis, the interests of the country must come first and should not be obscured by the self interest of someone who shows no sign whatsoever of reflecting on serious concerns about his own conduct – concerns which, to put it mildly, raise real questions about the appropriateness of a return to public office.

“The SNP has led the country through the last twelve months of the Covid pandemic, and at this election we offer the experienced, responsible and forward looking leadership that the country needs. 

“Our plans to get Scotland through and out of the Covid crisis, and support a recovery with fairness and equality at its heart, with the opportunity to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, will be the focus of our election campaign.

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