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by Andrew Learmonth
16 April 2021
Former SNP minister calls for his party to work with Alba to create pro-independence 'supermajority'

Scottish Government Flickr

Former SNP minister calls for his party to work with Alba to create pro-independence 'supermajority'

One of Nicola Sturgeon’s former cabinet secretaries has urged SNP voters to “vote tactically to maximise the pro-independence vote.”

Former communities minister Alex Neil encouraged his party's supporters to back Alex Salmond's Alba at the next election, saying a “supermajority of pro-independence MSPs will be needed to force Boris Johnson’s hand on the constitutional question.”

Sturgeon has repeatedly ruled out working with her predecessor. She has said there are “significant questions about the appropriateness" of his return to Scottish politics.

The relationship between the two has been irreparably damaged over harassment complaints made against Salmond by former civil servants, and the government’s resulting botched and unlawful investigation.

Salmond launched the list-only party just three weeks ago. He said pro-independence voters  backing the SNP on the constituency and Alba on the list could create a “supermajority” of 90 pro-independence MSPs.

In a statement, Neil said the idea had some merit: "Since 2016 the SNP and Scottish Green Party have, between them, had a pro-independence overall majority of nine in the Scottish Parliament.

"Despite that there has been zero progress during the past five years in bringing about a second independence referendum. We cannot allow that situation to continue for another five years.

"The experience of the last five years teaches us that a supermajority of pro-independence MSPs will be needed to force Boris Johnson’s hand on the constitutional question.

"Unfortunately, under the current system for electing the Scottish Parliament there is no realistic possibility of any one party winning such a supermajority by itself.

"To achieve a supermajority requires all the pro-independence parties working in partnership together.

"The self-interests of individual parties and personalities are secondary to the needs of the Scottish people. To advance our cause, we must act as a united front to maximise the independence vote in this election.

He added: “In this election, it is clear in nearly every region of Scotland the SNP’s huge sway over such a large number of constituency seats means that it is impossible for it to win many list seats under the current system for electing regional MSPs . In such circumstances it makes sense to have an agreement between the pro-independence parties to vote tactically to maximise the pro-independence vote.”

“We must all put our country, Scotland, first.”

Speaking to the Daily Record, Neil said he was “considering” voting Alba on the regional list.

Yesterday, answering questions after the launch of the SNP manifesto, Nicola Sturgeon once again said she had "no intentions" of working with Alex Salmond.

"We don't need a super majority for independence, we need a simple majority," she said.

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Scotland has voted for a second independence referendum, says Nicola Sturgeon

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