Sturgeon grilled by Rennie over 'divisive' independence bid
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Noel Dolan, a former special adviser to Ms Sturgeon, has said he will be casting his second vote for the pro-independence Alba Party in the Scottish Parliament elections next month. Mr Salmond aims to create a so-called “supermajority” for independence when Scots head to the polls on May 6.
The Alba Party has encouraged Scots to vote for the SNP in constituencies and use their second vote to support the new pro-independence movement in the regional lists.
Ms Sturgeon has been a fierce critic of the formation of the Alba Party and warned it could damage the independence bid, but this has not stopped a number of high-profile SNP figures from jumping ship.
Explaining his decision to support the Alba Party Mr Dolan said it was the “sensible” choice and would provide the “best opportunity” to pave the way for a second vote on taking Scotland out of the Union.
He told the Daily Record: “I’m voting for what I regard as the best opportunity for getting a second independence referendum, or moving towards independence.
“On the basis of the way on which the system works it would be sensible, if you favour independence, to vote for the SNP in the constituency vote and Alba on the second vote.”
Mr Dolan became Ms Sturgeon’s special adviser when she entered the SNP government in 2007.
He retired in 2016 after more than a decade of working closely with the SNP chief.
Mr Dolan added there would be a “very strong probability” the Alba Party would take seats away from parties that opposed IndyRef2.
He added the “probability of an independence-supporting majority is increased by voting Alba”.
A spokesperson for the Alba Party said: “The logic of the position that a list vote for ALBA will deliver a supermajority is irresistible and gaining ground as this endorsement from Noel Dolan, a highly respected figure within the SNP clearly shows.”
An SNP spokesperson said: “The only safe way to ensure Scotland’s future lies in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s – is to give both votes to the SNP on May 6th.”
The SNP has vowed to hold a second independence vote if the party wins a majority in the Holyrood parliament.
The SNP fell short of a majority by just two seats in the last election in 2016.
In Scotland, the proportional representation system sees MSPs elected from constituencies.
Additional members are elected from eight regional lists in a bid to ensure each party’s total number of MSPs is in proportion to the percentage of votes it receives.
The Alba Party has already listed 32 candidates to stand in the regional lists.
A number of high-profile SNP figures have already switched allegiance to the Alba Party, including sitting SNP MPs Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey.
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Former SNP MP for East Lothian, George Kerevan, has also teamed up with Mr Salmond’s new group.
And just last week Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, a former SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, announced she will be joining the new movement.
Speaking today, Mr Salmond said negotiations with Westminster over a second referendum should begin on day one, if pro-independence parties triumph in the Holyrood elections.
He said: “We think on day one of the new Scottish Parliament elected on an independence platform, the Government should go to the parliament for an instruction and that instruction should be that they should begin negotiations with the Westminster Government and they should do it as a parliament with a majority support for independence.
“All this of course depends on people voting for that supermajority which we are arguing for, to vote Alba on the list, that’s what’s critical, but if people do – and I think they will – then they move towards independence and negotiations for independence should start on day one of the parliament.”
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