A controversial political blogger, who has raised the possibility of launching a new pro-independence party, has denied that Alex Salmond is involved in its planning.
Stuart Campbell, the founder of the Wings Over Scotland website, claimed that a Nationalist movement separate from the SNP could win votes via the Holyrood list system at the next Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2021, helping to deliver a pro-independence majority.
Speculation has since mounted that Salmond, who resigned as First Minister following the No vote at the 2014 referendum, could be involved in behind-the-scenes planning of any new party.
But that was flatly denied by Campbell. Asked if the former the SNP leader and his team were involved, he told The National: "No, they're not, and you can quote me on that."
An SNP source told The Scotsman: "The party is united behind the campaign for independence. Peripheral issues are coming to the surface that some members are unhappy about. But that does not mean they are not supportive of the party."
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In a blog post today, Mr Campbell said any new pro-independence party would not contest any constituency seats but focus solely on the list vote at any future Holyrood elections. He believes that SNP list votes were routinely wasted at the 2016 and 2011 elections, given the nature of the voting system.
"The advantage of doing that is that you’re 10 times more likely to get a regional Wings Party MSP than a regional SNP one from the same number of votes," he said. "That’s because the SNP currently hold all nine of the local seats in the Glasgow region."
He added: "The difficulty, of course, is in persuading SNP voters to make the quite counter-intuitive step of voting for two different parties in the same election."
Mr Salmond's relationship with the party he helped become an election-winning machine has become strained in the last year. The former party leader claimed a dramatic court victory over the Scottish Government he once led in January of this year.
It was revealed today that Salmond collected a £500,000 pay out as a result of the botched inquiry, which is now the subject of an internal review.
It followed complaints which were made by two civil servants. Salmond was subsequently subsequently charged with a string of sexual offences, including attempted rape. He denies all charges.