Scottish Election 2021: New independence party stands down candidates after launch of Alba

A fledgling independence party, created by former SNP members, has withdrawn all its Holyrood election candidates to back Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party.

Independence for Scotland had a slate of two regional list candidates selected for each of the eight parliamentary regions, but will now not stand any of its MSP hopefuls.

It is the second pro-independence SNP off-shoot to withdraw candidates to make way for the former first minister’s new political vehicle, which he launched on Friday.

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Action for Independence, established by former SNP MSP Dave Thompson, has already said it will stand down its 42 candidates, including former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan, with the announcement of the Alba Party

It said its aim has “always been to unite the Yes family on the regional lists and we are confident that the Alba Party, with the help of AFI's members, will succeed in doing that”.

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Both new parties had backed the idea of a winning a pro-independence “super-majority” in Holyrood, by encouraging voters to back the SNP in constituency seats, but other independence-supporting parties on the list.

A statement from the ISP said the party had decided to “put aside its fully developed manifesto for the sake of independence, assured by others in the independence movement there was now one unifying voice to get independence delivered – and that voice was the Alba Party”.

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Alex Salmond at the launch of the Alba Party.

The statement went on: “We are not standing aside to be failed by others again, but hope that our members’ trust will be rewarded. This has not been an easy decision and we would like to thank all our members, particularly our candidates who have worked so hard over the last few months to make an independence list party a possibility.

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"ISP will continue to make the case for how a fairer Scotland can be built and we will now concentrate our efforts on the upcoming council elections next year.”

The move could see a higher concentration of pro-independence votes cast for the Alba Party, which is hoping to convince SNP supporters to choose it on the second ballot paper, and is not contesting the SNP vote in the constituencies.

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The decision by the ISP leaves the Scottish Greens and Restore Scotland as the other pro-independence challenger parties on the list.

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