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Alba to stand in ‘at least’ 12 Scottish seats, party hints

Alex Salmond hit out at the SNP’s decision to ‘go it alone’ at the next election (PA)
Alex Salmond hit out at the SNP’s decision to ‘go it alone’ at the next election (PA)

The Alba Party will make a “wide-scale intervention” in “at least” 12 Scottish seats at the next general election, hinting that it will not seek to field candidates in every constituency.

Following a meeting of its national council in Aberdeen on Saturday, Alba Party leader Alex Salmond said the move has been agreed.

The party will begin the selection process for candidates and announce who will stand in the new year.

In a statement after the meeting, the former first minister said his party is the only one with a “credible strategy” for Scottish independence.

This week, Alba Holyrood leader Ash Regan unveiled plans for a member’s Bill which would call a referendum on September 18 next year – the 10-year anniversary of the independence vote – on whether the Scottish Parliament should have the powers to hold a second referendum and negotiate separation.

He also criticised the SNP for choosing to “go it alone” at the next election as opposed to joining the Alba-proposed Scotland United strategy – which would see a single pro-independence candidate stand in each Scottish constituency.

“Alba Party called on the independence movement to move forward with a Scotland United approach but sadly the SNP have opted to go it alone – this is something that in Rutherglen we know was fatal for them,” he said.

“Alba are now the only party that have a viable strategy for the general election and we are the only party with a credible strategy to move the independence movement forward – as Ash Regan MSP set out with her plan for a referendum Bill to be progressed in Holyrood.

“The SNP strategy for the general election is incoherent and recently the Greens have said that independence is no longer a red line for them and they would be happy to prop up a unionist government at Holyrood.”

Mr Salmond said his party is now “Scotland’s independence party”.

“Therefore our national council have agreed that we will commence preparations for a wide-scale intervention of at least 12 candidates across Scotland at next year’s general election to make sure the people of Scotland have the choice of voting for independence – something I am more confident now than ever that a majority will take,” he added.

An SNP spokesperson said: “As the largest political party – and pro-independence party – in Scotland, the SNP will continue delivering for people across the country and make the case for a stronger Scotland with independence.  

“In the face of a broken Brexit Britain, voting SNP at the next general election is a chance for people in Scotland to make their voice heard – which is why page one, line one of the SNP manifesto will read ‘vote SNP for Scotland to become an independent country’.”