Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond is launching a new pro-independence party which will stand in the Scottish Parliament election.
Salmonds’s new Alba Party is expected to field at least four candidates in each regional list.
“I’m announcing the public launch of a new political force: the Alba Party,” Salmond said in a statement broadcast on Twitter.
“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.”
The news follows a public bust-up between Salmond and his protégé Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s current First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party.
Salmond accused Sturgeon of taking part in a malicious plot to drive him out of public life, and of breaking the ministerial code – a set of rules on how ministers should behave – in the process.
Sturgeon strongly denied the claims and was subsequently cleared of breaching ministerial code.
The drama, which has been unfolding north of the border since 2018, saw Sturgeon walk a political tightrope as she defended the government’s position on the Alex Salmond inquiry.
Salmond, who brought the party to victory in the 2007 Holyrood elections, was acquitted from all charges against him including rape at the Edinburgh High Court on 23 March 2020.
He was leader of the SNP for seven years until 2014 and was the most prominent pro-independence figure in the 2014 referendum, in which Scots rejected breaking away from the rest of the United Kingdom by 55 to 45 per cent.