Alex Salmond vows Alba Party will continue despite council elections wipe-out
Former first minister says SNP blocked Alba success
Former first minister Alex Salmond has insisted "Alba is undaunted" after its 111 Scottish council elections candidates failed to make a ballot box breakthrough.
The party, formed last year, went into the contest with 13 councillors, all of whom had defected from other parties. By late afternoon, he told reporters it would be unlikely that any of its hopefuls would be returned.
In a subsequent statement, Salmond said all candidates "fought a fine campaign" and Alba's vote "registered everywhere".
However, he said the SNP's refusal to ask the public to lend their preference votes to other 'yes' parties had cost it.
Salmond stated: "In a number of wards the Alba vote came in at over five per cent but the instruction from the SNP leadership not to use preferences to support other independence candidates now condemns most Scottish councils to control by unionists.
"We hoped to register gains and did not make the breakthrough we sought, albeit it went to the sixth redistribution before Brian Topping went out in Fraserburgh. However the awareness of Alba is much, much greater than previously. We found people friendly and receptive to the Alba message but still to be convinced about the vote."
As well as promising urgent action on the constitution, Alba ran on a policy platform that included protections for women's sex-based rights.
Salmond, who was not amongst the council candidates, said: "Alba is undaunted and will continue to press hard on the urgency of independence. It was Alba pressure which brought discussion on the timing of an independence ballot to the fore in this election. In the event of the promised referendum next year our party will unite with others behind the 'yes' campaign. If, however, it does not take place then the SNP will reap the electoral whirlwind in coming elections.
"Alba is also focused primarily on the tactic of maximising the pro-independence votes at Holyrood and the next Holyrood poll is our number one target. However, in the meantime we will continue to make the positive case for the urgency and primacy of independence."