Sturgeon warns Salmond he is hindering independence with Alba: ‘WON’T work with him!’

SNP: If Sturgeon goes it will be ‘significant blow’ says Miklinski

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The First Minister was scathing in her review of Mr Salmond’s bid to make a comeback to frontline politics at May’s Holyrood elections. Last week he was named as leader of the pro-independence party and has since gained support from the likes of Nigel Farage. But just a week after he launched his ambitious drive to return to the Scottish parliament as an MSP, it appears to have gotten off to a sluggish start.

An opinion poll showed his party on just three percent of the vote, with polling expert Sir John Curtice saying it appears to be “all over” for him before Scots have their say on May 6.

And adding to the scepticism, Ms Sturgeon said: “We shouldn’t assume that Alex Salmond is going to return MSP to Holyrood”.

The SNP leader added she “could not envisage” working with him or his new party because she does not think the group will help the cause for Scottish independence.

She explained: “I can’t and don’t envisage working with him, or his new party.

“That’s not about personal differences. It is firstly because what I think he is doing hinders the cause of independence rather than helps it.

“In the short term that is because I think…..there is a risk that asking people to gamble with their vote actually jeopardises an SNP majority.

“But beyond that, the tone and the approach he is striking I don’t think is necessarily particularly helpful to building a majority of the population behind independence.”

Despite Scotland suffering heavily under the weight of the Covid pandemic, Ms Sturgeon has persisted with her independence ambitions throughout the crisis.

In January her nationalist party set up an independence “taskforce” in anticipation of a second referendum.

And launching her election campaign this week, she focused on giving Scots another chance to vote to leave the UK, seven years after they opted to stay in.

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Ms Sturgeon said she fears the Alba Party will do more for the Unionist cause than the vision for independence.

She said: “We can’t bulldoze our way to independence, we have to build support, persuade people, win trust and confidence.

“And when I listen to what is coming out of his new outfit I fear that is more likely to drive the undecided former No voters that we need to attract away from the independence cause rather than to us.”

Her dressing down of Mr Salmond comes after the pair had a very public falling out.

Previously, she was close to the former first minister and SNP leader who served as her mentor.

But their friendship broke down over the Scottish Government’s handling of sexual harassment allegations that were made against Mr Salmond dating back to when he was in power.

Ms Sturgeon, who succeeded Mr Salmond as First Minister and SNP leader in 2014, raised concerns about whether it was appropriate for her predecessor to return to public office, saying that “I don’t think it sends a very good message”.

A poll carried out by Survation for DC Thomson newspapers put support for the Alba Party on just three percent, while 71 percent of respondents said they viewed Mr Salmond unfavourably.

The ballot was carried out this week, with 1,021 Scots taking part.

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