ALEX Salmond signalled his intention to return to the frontline of politics yesterday as he announced the formation of a pro-independence, list-only party, led by him and with the ambition of becoming Holyrood’s second-largest party after the May 6 election.

Launching the Alba party at a Zoom conference, the former First Minister said it would work with the SNP and others to achieve a “supermajority” for independence, which would give the Scottish Parliament the legitimacy to stand up to the Prime Minister, as well as a mandate to leave the UK.

“We expect to field a minimum of four candidates in each regional list and we’re hoping to elect Alba MSPs from every area of Scotland,” said Salmond.

He said Alba aimed to work towards a “successful, socially just, environmentally responsible, independent country”.

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Salmond is the only party leader to have won an outright majority in the Scottish Parliament, and he said the last Holyrood elections had one million “totally wasted independence” votes on the regional list.

However, he added that number could reach 90 with the new party.

“Today, Alba is hoisting a flag in the wind, planting our Saltire on a hill,” he said.

“In the next few weeks, we’ll see how many will rally to our standard.”

The SNP said the new party was perhaps “the most predictable development in Scottish politics” for some time, but Salmond said Alba wanted to work with the party he once led to achieve independence, although he told The National their methods would be different.

“I’m putting forward the Alba’s point of view and I think everyone else has total entitlement to stand on the platform they wish, that’s the essence of an election, they give people the choice and that’s the case for each constituency ballot that is the case for each regional list ballot,” he said.

“So, I’ve read obviously the SNP’s 11-point plan for achieving independence. I suppose Alba has a one-point plan about how the mechanism by which you can increase the chances of delivering independence in this coming parliament, and that is to trust the parliament as the key body which achieves the legitimacy by which you can gain and win in negotiations with a UK government. I think that will depend on what people put into the parliament but people can be absolutely certain that every Alba, member of the Scottish Parliament will see, will live and breathe independence, will see independence as an absolute priority.

“We’ll take an entirely constructive view to building that independence supermajority, that effective coalition that will put whoever is negotiating independence in as strong a position as possible in facing down Boris Johnson in negotiations so you can rely on Alba to be backing independence at each and every opportunity, in every way possible. But the crucial aspect is to have the legitimacy of a parliament speaking for a people, which gives Scotland the upper hand in these negotiations.”

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Salmond said Scotland had moved to a referendum in 2014 with a Section 30 order from the UK Government, because at that time it was the best way of achieving the legitimacy of the poll and the acceptance of its result.

However, he said Alba was also prepared to use alternative tactics should the Prime Minister continue to stonewall the Scottish people.

“International legal action, peaceful street demonstrations, popular will – these are all tactics but the tactics have to be founded on the legitimacy of the parliament,” he said.

“The parliament has to have, I believe, not a bare majority for independence within it, but a supermajority that changes the balance, fundamentally, into Scotland’s favour.

“That’s what I think Alba’s got to offer, but of course this is not a matter which should be decided by personalities, this is a matter of policy in the future of Scotland and then it behoves everyone, everyone to accept the verdict of the people, whatever it may be, and certainly to rally to Scotland’s cause when the time comes.”

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Salmond said he wold be standing in the North East regional constituency, as one of Alba’s four confirmed candidates.

When asked about the legal action he has been involved in, he said it was time to move on: “Everything I’ve said on the record stands but after the court cases, after the judges, after the jury, after the inquiries, my view is that we should accept the results of everything, the ones we like, the ones we don’t like, and then we move on.

“Everything I’ve said about everything stands as it did.”