ALEX Salmond has announced he’s launching a new political party to rival the SNP – after Nicola Sturgeon this week clung onto her career following a bungled Scottish Government probe.
He said the move will aim to create a ‘super-majority’ with the SNP – but it could split the pro-independence vote and lead to Ms Sturgeon relying on new party Alba for a majority.
However, his comeback press conference has been riddled with tech errors that left him staring silently into a camera.
Viewers were unable to hear questions to Mr Salmond – and there were long periods of quiet while the politician, apparently unaware of the problems, listened quietly.
Launching the broadcast, Mr Salmond said he wants a “super-majority” from voters for Scottish independence.
The politician called his party “a new political force” in a broadcast on YouTube – and said he’s “launching a flag in the wind”.
“We will see how many will rally to our standard,” he added.
“This party, under my leadership, is seeking to build a super-majority for independence.”
However, he said his party will only battle in the lists, rather than seeking constituency leads.
It means Alba could become a powerful minority party which takes votes away from SNP and seeks to influence its push for independence.
The intervention risks causing problems for Ms Sturgeon, who is trying to use the vote as a platform for pushing to get another referendum as early as this year.
And Mr Salmond was asked whether he’s simply turning into “Nicola Sturgeon’s worst nightmare” as “
And Mr Salmond was asked whether he’s simply turning into “Nicola Sturgeon’s worst nightmare” as “someone who exposes divisions in nationalist movement”.
The current First Minister comfortably survived a vote of no confidence by 65 to 31 to secure her political future earlier this week – and hours after a probe concluded she did mislead Scottish Parliament over the allegations against Mr Salmond.
Ms Sturgeon easily fended off the challenge after the Greens backed the SNP and Labour opted to abstain.
The vote came after the Holyrood inquiry published its findings – and a day after James Hamilton QC’s report revealed Ms Sturgeon hadn’t breached the ministerial code.
But despite that, investigators said they “find it hard to believe” that Ms Sturgeon had “no knowledge of any concerns about inappropriate behaviour on the part of Mr Salmond prior to November 2017”.
Mr Salmond was found not guilty of all 13 charges against him following a trial, and is now launching a political comeback.
The news about a political rival is likely to come as a shock to Ms Sturgeon, who she insisted she will not be “bullied out of office” and said she “rejects entirely” the idea that she misled Parliament.
The First Minister was questioned for almost seven hours about her role in the botched investigation earlier this month.
What is the difference between list and constituency parties?
Alex Salmond’s new party will not compete in constituencies. So what does that mean?
Scotland is divided into 73 constituencies and each constituency elects one MSP.
These are known as constituency MSPs and are elected by ‘first past the post’ in exactly the same way as MPs are elected to Westminster.
This is the elector’s ‘first vote’.
The ‘second vote’ is used to elect 56 additional members.
Scotland is divided into eight parliamentary regions and each region elects 7 regional MSPs.
In the second vote, the voter picks a party, rather than a candidate.
The parties are then allocated a number of additional members to make the overall result more proportional.
The regional MSPs are selected from lists compiled by the parties.
These MSPs are also sometimes referred to as List MSPs.
Mr Salmond was also quizzed. He used his appearance to accuse St Sturgeon of multiple breaches of the ministerial code and argue there was a “malicious” plot to remove him from public life.
But Ms Sturgeon said she wasn’t out to “get” Mr Salmond – and slammed “absurd” claims there was a plot against him.
She rejected the “absurd suggestion that anyone acted with malice or as part of a plot against Alex Salmond”, saying the “claim is not based in any fact”.
She added: “There is nothing here that the Government has to hide.”
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Meanwhile, Mr Salmond also this week announced plans to take legal action over the “conduct” of the Scottish Government’s top civil servant Leslie Evans.
He said the permanent secretary failed to take “real responsibility” for failings highlighted in the two reports released this week.
Mr Salmond said his announcement of the legal action on Wednesday would be his “final statement” on the reports.