Former SNP MSP to quit and form new Scottish independence party

Former MSP Dave Thompson is leaving the SNP after 55 years

A former MSP has announced that they will quit the SNP after 55 years to form a new Scottish independence party reports the Daily Record.

David Thompson will be launching the new party, Alliance for Independence (AFI) for the 2021 Holyrood elections and hopes to win 24 seats.

Mr Thompson said: “As soon as we launch, and I formally join the Alliance, I will leave the SNP, which won’t be easy for me, as I have been in the SNP since 1965.

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“I do believe, tactically, we can gain far more independence-supporting seats by having a different vote on the regional lists.

“If I can achieve that more quickly by voting SNP in the constituency and voting Alliance on the list, that’s what I will do. I do believe that’s the best way.”

His comments come after veteran SNP MP Kenny MacAskill floated the idea of a separate pro-independence party standing in next year's Holyrood election.

The former Scottish justice secretary, now MP for East Lothian, said last week that the "Both Votes SNP" tactic that has been adopted by the party "just doesn't work".

But Constitution Secretary Mike Russell insisted his former Holyrood colleague Mr Thompson was "mistaken in his analysis".

Mr Russell told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Anybody is entitled to join or to vote for any party that they wish.

"I know Dave very well, I've worked very well with him.

"I think that he's mistaken in his analysis.

"I believe that, in order to get independence, we need a unified movement.”

An SNP spokesman said: “Talk of splitting the SNP vote will be music to the ears of the Unionists.

“Those seeking to game the Holyrood proportional electoral system are putting at risk the SNP’s progress.”

Additional reporting by PA

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