Alex Salmond has urged Nicola Sturgeon to campaign with him to secure an independence “super-majority” at Holyrood.
The former first minister stunned the nation on Friday afternoon when he announced he would be returning to frontline politics to lead the little-known Alba Party.
Mr Salmond, who led the country from 2007 to 2014, said if Alba won regional list seats it could lead to there being 90 or more MSPs at Holyrood who support independence.
The former first minister, who quit the SNP amid a bitter feud with Ms Sturgeon, claimed he wanted to work with his former party colleagues to secure a route to independence.
He said: “The strategic aim of Alba is to secure independence, which is a substantial strategic aim.
“We think building that substantial majority in the Scottish parliament is the key to unlock that question and it’s the key to the way forward.
Alex Salmond Statement https://t.co/w3IATOmfuv
— Alba Party (@AlbaParty) March 26, 2021
“If Alba helps, and it is helping because we are not standing on the constituency ballot, we expect that to be dominated by the Scottish National Party, but if Alba can help by contributing independence-supporting MSPs and their expertise they’re contributing to the new platform that we’re going to have to build on independence, meet the new political realities, ideas to get us out of the pandemic in an economic sense as quickly as possible, if we can contribute these then that’s an entirely positive thing.”
The former SNP leader told potential supporters to vote for his old party in constituency seats or an “independence” party.
Mr Salmond added at the launch: “The Alba Party is a list party, we are standing only in the list. We are not challenging the SNP in the constituencies.
“Indeed, we are saying vote SNP or for an independence party on the constituency section. We are giving that support.
“Our campaign that we have launched is going to be entirely positive.”
His offer was quickly dismissed by the SNP, however, with a party spokesman saying: “The only way to secure strong leadership, a referendum on independence, and a positive future for the country is to cast both votes for the SNP on May 6.”