Alex Salmond issues warning to SNP MPs
Humza Yousaf suffered another blow today, after an ex-SNP MP announced he would begin working with Alex Salmond’s Alba party in Westminster.
Angus MacNeil, who was elected as an SNP MP in 2019, was expelled by the party in August after a row with Chief Whip Brendan O’Hara was broadcast in the press.
He refused to re-join the SNP group after his suspension expired, saying he wouldn’t do so until the party got “serious” about independence.
Today Mr MacNeil announced he will continue as an independent MP, but will work with Mr Salmond’s pro-independence Alba party from now on.
It’s the latest major boost for the former First Minister’s party, after securing the shock defection of a senior SNP MSP yesterday.
READ MORE: SNP plunged into chaos as ex-leadership contender quits with swipe at Yousaf
Former leadership contender Ash Regan, who secured 11 per cent of the vote against Mr Yousaf, said she was jumping ship as she could not “in good conscience continue to be part of a party that has drifted from its path and its commitment to achieving independence as a matter of urgency”.
Announcing today’s boost to their ranks in SW1, Alba’s Westminster leader Neale Hanvey said: “Whilst Angus will continue to sit as an independent MP, following his offer to work cross-party on independence, it’s only Alba who have responded and he has now begun working with us under the shared banner of Scotland United”.
“A United Scotland campaign can only make progress if those involved hold a genuine determination for Scotland to be a normal independent country. Those who choose devolution or disregard the aspirations of their voters now risk being crushed on the political rocks.
“Our movement is resilient and will regroup driving forward to independence with or without them.
“[The] Alba Party will make a significant contribution to contesting the General Election next year but our strategic objective is the next Scottish Parliament elections.”
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In his effective resignation letter to the SNP in July, Mr MacNeil slammed Mr Yousaf’s party as becoming less focussed on Scottish independence, and more obsessed with becoming “a brand name missing the key ingredient”.
“The urgency for independence is absent.”
He criticised the SNP in Holyrood, saying that following last year’s IndyRef2 rejection by the Supreme Court, the leadership had become “utterly clueless about how to pursue independence”.
Mr MacNeil has already committed to standing against the SNP as an independent candidate in next year’s General Election.
Ms Regan’s shock defection yesterday handed Alba its first MSP in Scotland’s parliament.
Alba said her move “enriches our team and sharpens our focus on the immediate need for Scottish independence”.
In retaliation, the SNP said her departure was “no great loss”.
Alba has so far failed to make much impact, having no councillors, but secured two SNP MP defections – Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey – when it first launched in 2021.
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