Former First Minister, Alex Salmond, has announced the creation of a new pro-independence party which will stand in the Scottish Parliament election. He said the Alba Party expected to field at least four candidates in each regional list.
During the online launch Mr Salmond said “Today I am announcing the public launch of a new political force – the Alba Party.
“Alba will contest the upcoming Scottish elections as a list only party under my leadership seeking to build a super majority for independence in the Scottish parliament.
“Over the next six weeks we will promote new ideas about taking Scotland forward giving primacy to economic recovery from the pandemic and the achievement of independence for our country.
“We expect to field a minimum of four candidates in each regional list and are hoping to elect Alba MSPs from every area of Scotland.”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Alex Salmond is a discredited figure who admitted appalling behaviour towards women during his time as SNP First Minister and right-thinking people will want nothing to do with him or his new party.
“The Scottish Conservatives are the only party in Scotland with the strength and determination to take on all Nationalists – whether that’s Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP or Salmond’s rabble.
“This election has become even more important. There is a stark choice between destructive Nationalist separation and a positive future for Scotland and our place in the United Kingdom.
“One one side is Salmond, Sturgeon and a Labour party too weak to stand up to them with the Scottish Conservatives firmly on the other.
“We will do everything possible to block another divisive referendum and ensure the Scottish Parliament works towards rebuilding and recovery after the pandemic.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign chair Alistair Carmichael MP said: “There are no questions about Scotland’s future to which Alex Salmond is the answer.
“This astonishing announcement shows just how divided the SNP are. A few years ago no one could have imagined that the former First Minister and his protege would be at one another’s throats.
“It shows the arrogance of the nationalists that they want to use the Scottish Parliament as an arena to fight their own feuds instead of being a forum to put recovery first and to make life better for the people of Scotland.”
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “The people of Scotland deserve so much better than the score settling and old politics that the SNP and Tories are offering.
“We are still in the midst of a pandemic. Lives and livelihoods are still at risk. This election must be about our national recovery and the people of Scotland’s priorities, not the old arguments between personalities who believe their interest matters more than the national interest.
“Our politics must be better than this. Scottish Labour, under my leadership, will focus on Scotland’s recovery.
“We can’t trust the divided SNP with recovery, nor can we trust Boris Johnson’s Tories.
“I am fighting this election to deliver a National Recovery Plan for Scotland and to focus on what unites our country, not what divides us.”
Additional reporting by Live Edinburgh News.