The former Scottish First Minister announced the creation of the Alba Party on Friday, less than two months before Scottish voters head to the polls to select their new MPs. Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross hit out at Alex Salmond for his political return and insisted he would cause “more division” at a time when the focus of Scotland should be on recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Ross said: “What Alex Salmond is offering is more division.
“It’s not trying to solve the problem for the fishermen or anyone in Scotland.
“He said it two or three times in your interview, his number one priority – and all nationalists’ number one priority – is more division, another referendum not focusing on our recovery.
“We can do far better than that in Scotland but only if we stop them and we showed over the last five years the only people who can stop the SNP, stop the nationalists, is the Scottish Conservatives.”
Mr Ross added: “We’re not afraid of them, we will stand up against them and make the focus is on our recovery and rebuilding.”
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Announcing the creation of his new party, Mr Salmond said: “Alba will contest the upcoming Scottish elections as a list-only party under my leadership, seeking to build a supermajority for independence in the Scottish Parliament.”
As the leader of the Scottish National Party, Mr Salmond led the devolved Scottish Government for seven years until 2014 and helped drive growing support for Scottish independence.
He was the most prominent pro-independence figure in the 2014 referendum in which Scots rejected splitting from the rest of the United Kingdom by 55 percent to 45 percent.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cast doubt on her predecessor’s return to political life in the aftermath of a divisive inquiry into his conduct following claims of harassment.
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The East Lothian MP is reported to have written to his staff saying: “I will be joining the newly-formed Alba Party to deliver than supermajority for independence through the list vote and which I believe’s essential to achieving our nation’s independence.”
The SNP has called for a by-election in response, and described Mr MacAskill’s departure as “somewhat of a relief”.
SNP MP Corri Wilson also appeared to defect to the Alba Party on Saturday.
Her updated Twitter profile describes herself as an “Ex SNP Cllr & MP for Ayr Carrick & Cumnock” while she also retweeted a post that quoted her as saying she would stand for the newly-formed party in South of Scotland.
It said: “I am delighted to be joining Alba Party whose goal is to secure independence for Scotland, the cause that so many in Scotland have given so much to support.”