Scottish Election 2021 results: Alex Salmond says Nicola Sturgeon 'too cautious' on independence and predicts more SNP defections

Alex Salmond has described Nicola Sturgeon as too cautious on independence and claimed the SNP were “sending their troops over the top and are piling up perhaps even a million list votes which will elect nobody”.

Less than 24 hours after suggesting to The Scotsman that he may not stay on as Alba leader after the election, Mr Salmond said he would help the party “bloom” despite admitting that it is unlikely to win any seats at the Holyrood election.

He created the pro-independence party six weeks ago with the aim of achieving a super-majority for leaving the UK at the Scottish Parliament.

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Scottish Election 2021 results: Alex Salmond’s Alba Party on course for electora...
Alba party leader Alex Salmond in Ellon as votes continue to be counted for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the P&J Live/TECA, Aberdeen. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Alba only fielded candidates on Scotland’s eight regional lists, calling for SNP voters to back it with their second ballots in an effort to “max the Yes”.

But Mr Salmond and Kenny MacAskill, who defected from the SNP to join Alba, said initial results suggested it would not return any MSPs.

Speaking on the Through a Scottish Prism podcast on Saturday, Mr Salmond said he would now focus on growing the party into an electoral force.

“The position is ripe for Alba to grow and flower and bloom in the coming years,” he said.

Alba Party leader Alex Salmond in Ellon gives a media interview as votes continue to be counted for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the P&J Live/TECA, Aberdeen. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Taking aim at Nicola Sturgeon he said she was too cautious on independence and predicted that more SNP defections would take place if she failed to secure indyref2.

“Nicola lost her nerve on independence back in 2017 and has never recovered it – it’s as simple as that,” he said.

Mr Salmond also claimed that Alba had helped the SNP at the election by attracting “the venom of the mainstream media” away from Ms Sturgeon’s party.

Alba Party leader Alex Salmond talks to the media as votes are being counted for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the P&J Live/TECA, Aberdeen. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

But he said after the election, he and his party would be “much more vigorous” in its criticism of the SNP over any “lack of action” on the constitutional issue.

After the failure to make a breakthrough became apparent on Friday, Mr Salmond said that a successful election for the Alba Party would be “registering as a political party, registering on the political spectrum”, rather than winning seats.

“To form a political party in a six-week period and to publicise it, and to get the activists and the members and the candidates and programme – I don’t know if it’s ever been done before,” he said.

“I think time will tell if our argument we’ve been putting forward in this campaign proves correct.”

In a separate interview, Mr Salmond took another swipe at this former party, saying: “We warned of the danger of piling up SNP list votes and achieving nothing, getting nobody returned and allowing unionists, Labour and Tory, to sneak in the back door. That unfortunately is what is going to happen”.

In Aberdeen Donside, the party has registered just 2.1 per cent of the list vote. Mr Salmond was Alba’s lead candidate in the north east,

He said: “I’ve obviously looked at the ballot boxes at the count and they’ve given us some very good ones – Aberdeenshire had over 10 per cent in a couple of the ballot boxes

“But in some of the big ballot boxes, I think we ended up over three 3 per cent in Aberdeenshire East ...but that doesn’t get you a seat. You need 4.5 per cent, maybe 5 per cent to get a seat.”

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