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Alba Party announces more high-profile defections from SNP

Scotland's former first minister Alex Salmond who has announced he is setting up a new political party to run in the Scottish Parliament elections in May - Credit: PA

An SNP councillor and a senior party official have become the latest figures to defect to Alex Salmond’s new pro-independence party.

Shahid Farooq, who represents a ward in North Lanarkshire, and veteran independence supporters Dot Jessiman have switched to the Alba Party.



Salmond launched the Alba Party as a rival to the SNP following a bitter fallout with its leader Nicola Sturgeon.

Alba intends to field candidates on the regional lists for the Holyrood election, with Salmond standing in the North East.

Other defections so far have included MPs Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey, as well as Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny.

Ex-boxer Alex Arthur was also announced as a candidate, but the news was marred after he apologised for making nasty comments about beggars.

Farooq, an entrepreneur, said: “There is huge enthusiasm for the new party across the communities of Scotland. It has galvanised the national movement. I am looking forward to the election contest since it gives the chance to speak about independence.”

Jessiman, who has been a member of the SNP since 1988, said: “I am proud to stand with Alex Salmond in the North East of Scotland. ALBA is putting down real roots in our communities and opportunity for Scotland beckons. Instead of wasting list votes on the SNP, the switch to ALBA opens up the prospect of an independence #Supermajority in the next parliament.

“My message in this election is both votes YES; SNP in the constituencies and ALBA for the regional list.”

Along with the founder of the Common Weal Group (CWG) in the SNP, Craig Berry, and central Scotland coordinator, Lynne Anderson, Mr Kerevan announced on Tuesday they would be joining Alba, describing the new party as a “cause for hope”.

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