New party argues it does not put pro-independence majority at risk.

Former SNP leader and Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has launched a new pro-independence party.

The Alba Party will stand candidates in Scottish Parliament elections in May, in direct competition with the SNP. Nicola Sturgeon, recently cleared of breaking the ministerial code over her handling of complaints against Salmond, hoped to secure a majority in the elections.

A majority for the SNP would open the way for a new referendum on Scottish independence. The launch of Alba likely threatens the chances of the an outright SNP majority.

However, Alba claims this is not the case. The party is understood to be standing ‘list’ candidates only in May’s election, giving SNP candidates a clear run on constituency ballots. Alba says: “The more success a party has on the constituency vote, the less well it does on the regional list vote. That’s why in 2016 #BothVotesSNP led to 1 million wasted pro-independence list votes.” The party claims it can help secure a “supermajority” for the pro-independence movement.